Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to open 396 new balwadis in the city even after the fact that its existing balwadis are short on trained teachers.
According to the senior official of the BMC the new balwadis are expected to start from the next academic session.
“The civic body runs schools in all wards, but compared with the number of schools in the city, pre-primary schools are very few. This prompts parents to enroll their children in private pre-primary schools and kindergartens. Hence, we have decided to start pre-primary sections covering almost all wards in the city,” the official said.
However, teachers and activists have their concerns as they told not only the existing balwadis are short-staffed but poor remuneration has often forced them to go on strike.
In total there are 1124 BMC schools in the city out of which 504 schools have primary sections. These 504 balwadis comprises of 184 Marathi medium, 112 Hindi, 111 Urdu, 71 English, six semi-English, eight Gujarati, 10 Tamil, one Kannada and one Telugu medium balwadis.
Balwadis under the leadership of BMC have been functioning since 1984 under the civic body's project called 'Samaj Kalyan Prakalp'.
A teacher working in the Marathi-medium balwadi said "Despite working with the balwadi for over 28 years now, they pay us only Rs 3000 per month. Not just that, but the salary is sometimes disbursed after a gap of three to four months through cheques. We work for five to six hours at a stretch”.