Making the Grade: Improving Mumbai's Public Schools

Adolescents | Mar, 2010

In Mumbai, 40% of children attend private schools because they are perceived to have better quality education and prepare students better for college and careers. Most marginalized children cannot afford private schools are enrolled in the public school system. But because of the poor quality of education provided at public schools, these children have lower learning levels. Dasra’s report Making the Grade lays out the key challenges and solutions to improving education in Mumbai, the country’s financial capital.

A large challenge is the lack of quality data on the number of schools, school performance, student learning and teacher performance in Mumbai. This type of data help non-profits advocate with government for policy improvements. Improvements in the education system will improve socio-economic outcomes, as one extra year of schooling increases an individual's earnings by up to 10%, each additional year of schooling raises average annual GDP growth by 0.37%, and a literate population is more likely to participate in the democratic process and exercise its civic rights.

For large-scale systemic change in Mumbai’s public education system, there needs to be greater focus on initiatives that work within the school system in collaboration with the government. The report outlines the three models of partnership that non-profits could engage in with municipal governments to improve standards in public schools: research and data gathering, provision of after-school clubs and teacher training academies, and as change makers who can train teachers, head teachers and others already working in the public education system.

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