PMC Budget 2015: No provision for counselling civic school students

In the 300-odd PMC schools across the city, there are 55 counsellors helping nearly one lakh 60,000 students. But the fate of counselling seems to be uncertain as the PMC has not made any allowance in its proposed budget document for the next fiscal.

The Academy of Personality Development, an NGO that is also into counselling services, says that while successive PMC commissioners, including the present one, agreed on the need for counselling in schools, the budget proposal does not reflect this view.“On September 15 last year, we proposed a budget allocation of Rs 1.25 crore for the next financial year. The municipal commissioner replied in the positive and asked the education officer to take appropriate action. But till December 24, nothing had been done and thus we again wrote to the PMC commissioner, after which he again asked the education board to do the needful in the budget proposal. But when the book on budget proposal was declared, we found no mention of allocation for counsellors,” said Pawankumar Gaikwad, project coordinator.

A single counsellor tends to look after 4-8 schools. But in a meeting with all stakeholders in Rajiv Gandhi e learning centre on August 24, it was decided that every counsellor should have a maximum of only three schools under him or her and their monthly pay should be at least Rs 10,000. We proposed a budgetary allocation of Rs. 1.25 crore (Rs 12500*10months*100 counsellors) for the next academic year;” said Gaikwad.

Emphasising the importance of counselling, Gaikwad said it helps in preventing dropout cases. “There have been some disturbing facts that we have seen in some of the cases. One of the major problems is the tendency to dropout after primary education. But the main cause in girls in the start of their menstrual cycle and in boys it is because of substance addiction,” said Gaikwad.

Of 1,668 students found to be addicted to any kind of drug, Gaikwad claimed that 493 students were ‘cured’. “Of 19,105 students found with difficulty in reading and writing, 7,042 cases were solved and out of 8,762 students who were found with problems of continued absence, approximately 1,000 were solved. All these problems are interconnected and just one time counselling or one year counselling is not enough. They have to be followed up every year as they are young and hence they need to be counselled till they understand on their own that what they are doing is wrong,” said Gaikwad.

PMC school board chairperson Pradip Dhumal said, “It is true that the there has been no budget allocation made for counsellors in PMC schools. We had taken up this issue many times with the chairman of standing committee yet nothing has happened yet.”
Source - indian express

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