The education department of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has asked all councillors to look for empty lands in their wards so the civic body can set up ‘model schools’ to help poor children receive proper education. The 60th meeting of the KMC witnessed discussion on whether model schools can be set up for children who are slum dwellers. The civic body has set up several model slums in the city to help the poor live in habitable conditions.

With the KMC polls next month, the Trinamul run KMC board is eyeing development of the poor in the city. Trinamul councillor Dr Shantanu Sen, proposing the idea at the meeting, said that there was a time when the slum dwellers were “used” for garnering votes but now the times have changed.

He highlighted that the scheme of Bangla Bari under the ‘model slums’ banner has helped slum dwellers in his ward no.3, live in habitable conditions with provisions of water supply, sanitation, developed roads etc. He proposed, “Similarly, model schools should also be built in the city so the children who are slum dwellers also get to enjoy their basic right to education.”

Replying to the same, Mayor Firhad Hakim said “Today’s children are our future. They will build our tomorrow for which primary level education is mandatory. KMC has already set up many English medium schools with good infrastructure. There are existing 40 English medium KMC run schools while more 31 are to become English medium.

This is a language that any student requires during most competitive examinations and hence the children must be taught English so they could also walk towards a brighter future. The model schools infrastructure is already being set up by the slum development department of the KMC.”

Mr Avijit Mukherjee, member mayor-in-council, education, said “If the civic body gets more empty lands then more number of such model schools can be set up in all wards of the KMC. I urge councillors of all 144 wards to provide any such empty land that is located in their respective wards for setting up of such schools.”