Even though the Shiv Sena is raising the Marathi issue, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), run by the party for the last two decades has closed down 37 Marathi schools in the city, civic authorities said.

The city also saw a drop of over 70,000 students in the last five years with more children being inclined towards English medium schools for better career prospects.

In the year, 2004 - 05 there were 450 Marathi medium schools with 1,77,538 students while in the year 2009 - 10, there are 413 schools with 1,07,413 students.

“The number of schools have decreased and so have the students but this is prevalent not only in Marathi medium schools but also other schools like Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Gujarati,” an official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the number of English medium schools have increased from 46 in the year 2004-05 to 109 schools in 2009-10 and number of students from 18,418 in 2004 - 05 to 37,504 in 2009-10.

“There were lot of enquires for English medium schools and we did not want our students to lag behind other children so we have also opened Mumbai Public Schools for Junior KG to class three in the year 2007- 08,” the official said.

According to the data available with the BMC, in the year 2004-05 there were 50 Tamil medium schools with 15,813 students and currently there are 45 schools with 10,032 students.

Five years back, there were 45 Telugu medium civic schools with 7,285 students and now there are 40 schools with 3,469 students. There were 15,875 students in 113 Gujarati schools and now there are 8,908 students in 89 schools.

In the Hindi medium schools the number of students dropped from 1,35,797 in 2004-05 to 1,13,726 in 2009-10 and the number of Hindi medium schools came down from 235 in 2004-05 to 233 in 2009- 10.

While in Urdu medium, though the number of schools has increased from 203 in 2004-05 to 208 in 2009-10, the number of students have decreased from 1,10,236 in 2004-05 to 1,02,778 in 2009-10.

“It is sad to see these numbers. But even those who study in Marathi medium or other medium achieve great success in their career,” a Sena corporator said.

“We would further ensure that the numbers do not drop further by bringing in few role models from civic—run Marathi and other medium schools who have achieved success in their life and also create awareness,” the corporator added.