A Public School Classroom in Mumbai A protest march was held in New Delhi, India yesterday against the proposed privatisation of all Mumbai's public schools The Mumbai city authorities voted in January to hand over all of the publicly run schools in the town to private companies or NGOs as so-called Public Private Partnerships or School Adoptions. This policy is directly in line with the one pursued by the World Bank, and is also implicitly encouraged by the recently passed Right to Education act, which provides that 25% of children should have free places in private schools. Creeping privatisation has been happening in Mumbai over the last period, with large parts of the schools estate being handed over to private companies and with more and more low fee private schools springing up, as the public schools are run down. Public schools in Mumbai are understaffed - many young children are in classes over 50 - contrary to the provisions of the Right to Education act. Moreover teachers are frequently required to carry out other activities which have nothing to do with teaching - like administering the census or being responsible for the health records of children. As a result a perception arises that teachers are frequently absent and not doing their job properly - a perception which is also fostered by a continuous discourse of derision in the media - fed by league tables produced by NGOs like Pratham. Not only this but the conditions in the schools are often very bad with children sometimes sitting on the floor and with inadequate or even non-existent sanitary facilities - not to mention an almost total lack of laboratories and creative arts spaces. All of this encourages poor parents to put their precarious family budgets at further risk by scraping together school fees for the private schools. The provision of this 'choice' of going to low fee private schools is the neo-liberal prescription for providing education for all. In fact for the poorest of the poor this isn't an option because they can't afford the fees.. Moreover these schools are frequently staffed by untrained personnel and also in inadequate and over-crowded conditions. Now the Mumbai Corporation is divesting itself of its statutory responsibility to provide free and equitable education to all. Instead it is handing the schools over to often foreign NGOs and companies which will decide what it taught. According to activists on the ground, "The builders and profiteering private institutions will capture the lands of BMC schools, similar to what happened with the Cotton mills in 1982.Due to this policy of ‘school adoption’ the NGOs run by Indian and Foreign Multinationals will decide what our children should study, how they should study and who should teach them." Not only that but a lot of these organisations only teach through the medium of English as opposed to the eight mother tongues which are the medium of instruction in municipal schools at present. According to the same source:  "This type of education is stunting the growth of language skills and independent thinking among students.  This is an attack on the future of our country, on the Dalits, Working class and Minorities." Activists in and co-operating with the All India Forum for Right to Education are leading the fight against these measures including yesterday's demonstration in New Delhi. :