In a first-of-its-kind move, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will start 125 junior and senior KG classes across all the 24 wards in the city from this academic session, which starts in June.
So far, every primary municipal school started from class I. As a result, several children often found it difficult to grasp the class I curriculum. Some of the kids, who attended the 'Balwadis' (a form of pre-primary classes) which mostly operate from BMC school premises, move to other schools once they reach class I.
Several corporates such as Reliance and D-mart have volunteered to fund the KG classes as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. An official from the education department said a meeting in this regard will be held this week.
Apart from the KG classes, 100 schools will also induct students in VIII grade. Civic officials informed about 130 teachers will be recruited for the purpose.
"The move will bring down dropout rates. In the next three years, we expect 40,000 students to be in class I," said Shambhavi Jogi, education officer.
Nitin Wadhwani of Citizens Association of Child Rights, which works for the betterment of municipal schools, welcomed the move. He said, "Last year, the BMC spent about Rs2 crore on funding balwadis, which has approximately 17,000 children. However, there was no mechanism in place to monitor if these kids actually joined the BMC schools. The KG classes will improve the chances of students joining the same school,"
Wadhwani added, "The education department should ensure that there is no commercial exploitation by corporates managing these KG classes."