BMMA is national rights based movement of Muslim women to ensure social, economic, legal and political rights of Muslim women. The Movement is active in 13 states and has a membership base of 60,000 women. It believes that Muslim women under their own leadership must strive towards achieving their Constitutional rights as citizens and work towards better educational and social development of the Muslim community.

BMMA in Maharashtra is active in Mumbai and other 7 districts of Maharashtra. In Mumbai, BMMA is very active in communities of Navpada, Behrampada, Garib nagar, Indira nagar pipeline, bharatnagar and golibar. Since the last 15 days we have been receiving complaints from BMMA Area Leaders as well as community women about the huge increase in fees and donation demanded by private schools.

The areas of Bandra east mentioned above are home to a large number of Muslim families. Localities like Behrampada, Navpada, Garib Nagar, Pipeline, Bharat nagar are big and small Muslim ghettos. These localities comprise 30% of the total population of Bandra east. Yet these localities have very poor quality of government schools. The 4 private schools charge very high fees and cannot accomodate the large demand for good schools from these Muslim ghettos. The private schools of Bandra west openly deny admissions from Bandra east. The discrimination and total commercialisation of education has led to a large number of students being denied good quality education.

On a priority the government must drastically improve the quality of education of BMC schools so that the poorest of the poor get access to good quality education. The government must take to task those schools who deny education to students on the basis of locality which is largely a Muslim locality. This hidden discrimination of a community goes against the Constitutional rights of minorities. The complete privatisation and commercialisation of education has ensured that the poor and the dispossessed have no access to quality education.

Here are some of the complaints received:
1.      Schools in Bandra west do not entertain students from Bandra east which largely comprises of the Muslim community.
2.      Schools in Bandra west say that students from Bandra east must take admissions only in Bandra east schools. But there are only 4 private schools in Bandra east. Schools like Cardinal Gracious do nottake many Muslim students.
3.      But if some parent is willing to pay donations ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 150,000 through agents then admission is ensured. In short education is up for sale during the months of June and July.
4.      Given below are fees demanded by some schools:
a.       Cardinal Gracious-Rs. 1000 pm
b.      New English-Rs. 1200 pm
c.       Pushottam – Rs. 1200 pm
d.      Mt. Mary – Rs. 1300 pm
e.       St. Peter-Rs. 4500 pm

·         The government of Maharashtra must monitor the fees charged by the private schools and put a ceiling to it. The schools cannot increase the fees in an adhoc manner
·         The state must subsidise the primary education also. Poor parents have a tough time sailing through the primary school due to exhorbitant fees.
·         The schools must ask for fees every month and not the entire years’ fees at one go. Poor parents cannot pay the full years fee together.
·         The poor quality of BMC school education pushes the poor towards private schools. The quality of BMC schools must improve with immediate effect
·         All BMC schools must be extended till 10th class
·         All BMC schools must introduce english as the medium of instruction right from class 1.
·         Schools discriminating against a particular community must face penalty

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