The Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation took a decision to handover all their around 1200 schools to private players under Public Private Partnership. This is an unprecedented decision in the annuls off Indian independent history that a statutory body hand over all its schools to private operators. It is a major step in direction of disowning the responsibility of providing education to the citizens (children), a constitutional obligation on Indian state. This decision involves transfer of hundreds of millions of Rupees of the public assets to private hands in form of buildings and lot of prime land in Mumbai. This, in brief, involves 1) Neo-liberal policy of disowning the responsibility by state and 2) Siphoning of public assets and funds to private operators.
However, people of Mumbai and Maharashtra are not ready to take it lying. They are preparing to organize statewide protest until the decision is thwarted. Mumbai Municipal Corporation sent its decisions for approval of the state government. Now, people of Maharashtra demanding the chief minister not to give his consent.
The eight member organisations of All India Forum for Right to Education working in Maharashtra met on 26th of January, 2013 to initiate a statewide struggle against the decision of the Mumbai municipal Corporation. The meeting was convened by Shri Arvind Vaidya (member, national executive, AIFRTE – Mumbai). The meeting was attended by seven out of eight organisations. (One orrganisation could not attend under unavoidable conditions.) The meeting was also attended by Prof. Anil Sadgopal [Member, Presidium, AIFRTE] and Shri D. Ramesh Patnaik
[Organising Secretary, AIFRTE]. Prof. Anil Sadgopal is closely guiding the movement on behalf of All India
Forum for Right to Ecuation.
The meeting took a decision to convene all organisations in the state who are ready to fight against the onslaught on public education system. The propose extended meeting was organised on 10th February.
Invitation was sent to many organisations which oppose commercialization of education, Neo-liberal policy of public private partnership, Neo-liberal foreign funding, Communalism and stand in support of public education system at all levels and for diversity of cultures. Seventeen organisations attended this meeting. An organizing committee was formed with the representatives of all the organisations. A three member (
Arvind Vaidya, Dr Milind Wagh and Neeraj Jain) convening committee and a correspondent (Shyam Sonar) were appointed by the organizing committee. This meeting was attended, again, by Prof. Anil Sadgopal. Dr. Vikram Singh Amarawat, office Secretary
, AIFRTE also attended the meeting.
The above meeting on 10th of February took momentous decision to take up the campaign widely and intensively. A schedule of activities is prepared. As a part of campaign, a delegation of men of letters in the state on behalf of the campaign is going to meet the the Chief Minister shortly to ask him not to give consent to the decision of the BMC to privatize the 1200 schools.
You will listen many more developments of the campaign.
Please contact comrade Shyam Sonar <email@example.com>, 08080829499 to know developments and also to support the movement.
D. Ramesh Patnaik,
All India Forum for Right To Education