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DEBILITATING DELHI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who made claims about his involvement in the field of education, you can see the truth of those claims yourself in this report card

DELHI EDUCATION SYSTEM
REPORT CARD

by ASHISH SOOD, General Secretary, Delhi BJP

These are very challenging days for the residents of the national Capital of Delhi. Today they are faced with unprecedented situation of mal-governance with those assigned the responsibility to run the city engaged 24x7 into politics of sound bytes. 


At the turn of the century when the organization of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) were assigned to Delhi during the regime of NDA I government led by most revered Sh AtaL Bihari Vajpayee, it was believed that our national Capital would emerge as a global city. The then city Congress government in cohorts with the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre created a multi-thousand crore scam in the name of the CWG. Atalji's vision was badly mutilated and what we received in the name of CWG infrastructure was corruption-eaten and poorly implemented.


The people of Delhi punished the Congress party but the innocent voters did not know what they had in store for them. Carried away by the promises of clean governance and effective implementation of government scheme, they gave an unprecedented mandate to the newbie Aam Aadmi Party. What they have given back to the voters too is unprecedented and in the mildest terms it can be called cruel. 



Despite being the biggest votaries of democratic values, AAP government has ensured most undemocratic functioning and muzzled any criticism, which may have come their way. They have manipulated the media through their partisan publicity policy using people money to advance their political cause. The media houses have refrained from reporting in detail the crisis of governance the national Capital is facing.



Despite being the biggest votaries of democratic values, AAP government has ensured most undemocratic functioning and muzzled any criticism, which may have come their way. They have manipulated the media through their partisan publicity policy using people money to advance their political cause. The media houses have refrained from reporting in detail the crisis of governance the national Capital is facing.


Under such circumstances, when criticism is not allowed on the floor of legislature or on the forums of media, it becomes incumbent on the political activists to come out with reports which depict the true picture of the health of the society and government.


In this report, which in no way is exhaustive, we have addressed major controversies which have plagued Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government but have escaped public attention thanks to a cash-calibrated media policy of the Delhi government. We have focused on three major sectors - Education, Health & Transport, which affect us on day-to-day basis.


Despite tall claims made by Sh Kejriwal and his trusted lieutenants Manish Sisodia and Satyender Jain, all the departments are in shambles. The departmental funds are being diverted to fill the coffers of the AAP volunteers. I am very sure when Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung would make public the Shunglu Committee report on misuse of office by AAP ministers, many points which are being raised here would also find a reflection.


I am of firm belief that this report would only be a beginning of public investigation into the government functioning. Every citizen of the city should carry out an investigation into the functioning of this government and bring it out in the public domain and end the cover-up by the government through its cash-calibrated media policy.


I must, however, also acknowledge that I have referred to some media reports to illustrate the points, which they could have also very well done to expose the most corrupt and inefficient government Delhi has ever had. 


I must, however, also acknowledge that I have referred to some media reports to illustrate the points, which they could have also very well done to expose the most corrupt and inefficient government Delhi has ever had. 


ASHISH SOOD
General Secretary, Delhi BJP

SCHOOL EDUCATION IN DELHI

NO LEARNING IN GOVT SCHOOLS

The Aam Admi Party (AAP) government's move to hold teacher-parent meetings in its schools to improve quality of education is just a mere eye wash as the entire system needs to be overhauled toraise the bar of education in the national capital. By simply holding parent-teacher meetings, the government can just get the sense of what is lacking in the system. But what is required on a priority is to ensure there are well-qualified trained teachers to groom students in the highly competitive market. Also, the government needs to pay serious attention to improve the infrastructure of its schools.


In the last two decades the education sector has been left to decay by the political class, which has deliberately let the system to deteriorate to cater to the vested interests of the private schools. Thes is precisely the case in Delhi, where in February 2015, the AAP government inherited a system that was in a poor state. There was shortage of class rooms and insufficient number of teachers as no recruitments had taken place for over a decade. There are instances where teachers would not even attend even a single class. The Congress supervised the declining educational system for over 15 years of its rule in Delhi. 


The Delhi government data shows that the pass percentage in class IX has been declining constantly. Even more disturbing is the fact that the failure rate is almost touching 50 percent now. In 2013-14, a total of 209533 children appeared in class IX and of these only 117265 passed the exams. Similarly, of 246749 children who appeared in class IX, only 127667 could qualify in 2014-15. The pass percentage was just51.74 percent. 


In 2015-16, of a total 269703 children who appeared in the exams, only 136962 could make it. The percentage of failures was as high as 49.22 percent.


● PTMs are eyewash, a mere jamboree of AAP    sympathisers

● First ensure timely delivery of textbooks, then organize Reading Mela

● Majority of fund allocated to education sector spent on publicity gimmicks like PTMs and Reading Melas


On paper, the list of facilities that a school should have is long -though not fancy. But on the ground, most of the government-run institutions in Delhi lack these basic facilities. The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi allocated Rs 10,690 crore, 23 percent of the total allocation, for education in its last budget. However, crammed class rooms, rugs filling in for desks, leaky roofs, stinking toilets,missing libraries and absence of clean drinking water in several government schools show that the goal of reforming school education in Delhi is not an easy task to achieve. 


A visit to five government run schools in across the city showed they lacked even basic amenities. Broken glass panes, plaster peeling off the walls, leaky roofs and missing desks were some of the common problems in these schools. A school in northeast Delhi's Sonia Vihar holds classes in corridors. In an approximately 20X 20 feet room, more than 150 students sit together. In some classrooms, two different classes were being held together. Some fans were broken and some were not working. Data provided by the Delhi government's directorate of education (DoE) shows that 47 schools of the total 1,011 in Delhi have more than 3,000 students. There were no desks or chairs in four schools in Molarbandh in south Delhi. In a school in Alipur, there was neither water nor electricity.


School principals said their requests for necessary repairs and for providing new material takes a long time to get approved. Nirmal Yadav (name changed),principal of a SarvodayA BAlVidyalaya in North East district said,"It took me two years to get electricity meters fixed in the school."

The AAP government claims that PTA meeting will improve the quality of education. It is a good step but first government should provide infrastructures and basic facilities to schools. Texts books should be available on time (read SCERT). After that, it should hire quality teachers for teaching. Thereafter comes PTM and gimmicks like Reading Melas," he said.

A teacher at Sarvodaya BaL Vidyalaya in West Patel Nagar showed documents to prove that requests to get windows, desks and chairs repaired are pending for the last two years. The government records show over 1,000 pending requests for repair and maintenance work in various schools. For every infrastructure requirement, the school writes to the education department and the request is then for warded to the Public Works Department (PWD). Officials acknowledged poor infrastructure in schools and said the process to repair and improve it has begun. They said to address the problem of overcrowding, 8,000 new classrooms and 21 new schools are being built. But to create space for classrooms, the government is taking up playing space in some schools.


"The output is low. The standard of education is very low in 1,200 government- run schools across the city. But the level of questions being taught at class 10, 11 and 12 are very tough. The high absenteeism among teachers is another major issue. Only 70 percent teachers reach their schools to sign attendance registers. Most of these teachers keep themselves busy in gossiping in teachers room," are port on government run schools prepared by a retired school teacher said. Besides newly appointed guest teachers are spending time on gadgets like whattsapp and internets. The parents' teacher association meeting is full of people owing allegiance to AAP. The newly installed ROs are dysfunctional in schools. The AAP government is working overtime to control the management of schools by filling the PTA and ensure them 'pucca voters' cards.

Since the AAP government has failed to ensure transparency, it is the right of every citizen to demand and urge the government to put up decisions, strategies, etc in the public domain, so that they can be reviewed and consulted in order to turn them into sustainable reforms.From promises of making government schools better, to regulating private schools and increasing the prospects of higher education, the AAP had pledged a lot to Delhiites. The AAP government claims that its government is trying to evolve a healthy education system which had been held at ransom by vested interests during the 15-year-old Congress rule.

WHAT DELHI GOVT. SHOULD DO TO FIX IT'S SCHOOLS


Many govt schools conduct classes out in the open for want of more space, classrooms and furniture. Several of them are building classrooms on playgrounds. Missing or broken windowpanes, fans that don't work, dirty and/or non-functional toilets are common sights, say students.
The government will have to fix these essentials so that students and teachers are comfortable during the six-eight hours that they spend in schools every day.



On paper, Delhi govt schools have one teacher for every 42 students in. On the ground, there is no balance in teacher allocation. For instance, a school in Sonia Vihar has 128 students in one section of Class 10, whereas one of the classes in a Sarojini Nagar school has just 18 students. An overcrowded classroom is bound to suffer from student absenteeism and poor teaching quality. The government should fill up teacher vacancies to improve the teacher-student ratio, which will in turn improve teaching as well learning. It's recent plan to transfer principals with good records to schools with poor performance should be implemented on a larger scale.


Of the total 900 administrative posts in government schools, 700 are vacant. Teachers are forced to take up tasks such as replying to RTI queries, data entry and distributing books and medicines. It eats into their teaching and lesson-preparation time. Administrative vacancies should be filled at once to let teachers concentrate on teaching.


At municipal schools, students directly join Class 1 at age 5. They miss 2 years of nursery and kindergarten, unlike counterparts from govt and private schools. 70% students in govt schools are from municipal schools. The 2 years of missed education can lead to a significant learning gap later. Ensuring that all students start secondary school at the same age will improve learning levels.


Municipal and govt schools distribute free textbooks to students. But several of them don't do it on time, sometimes six months late. Parents may not be able afford to buy them. Hence, students lag in studies. Also, students are given one set of free uniform for an entire academic year, including summer and winter. Fixing basics will improve student attendance and attentiveness.


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Govt and municipal schools should have all classes from nursery/kindergarten to twelfth to ensure continuity of students' assessment. At present, municipal school don't have nursery classes. After Class 5, students have to switch to a govt school. A few govt schools start only from Class 6. A common directorate will ensure uniformity in teaching methods and policies.


An effective communication channel between the government and corporation as well as between teachers, parents and students is necessary. It will streamline work. Communication is crucial to address problems of teachers and students, and letting them know about government schemes.


Ever since a School Management Committee with parent representation was set up in every government school, their condition has improved, say students. Studies show that students perform better if parents are involved with their education. It is important to improve coordination between the committee and school authorities. SMCs should be set up in municipal schools as well so that parents can get involved at the foundation level itself.


State Council of Educational Research and Training is an important body responsible for training government teachers and preparing school books. The government should strengthen the body and improve resources available for it. Similarly, District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) should also be helped to train using innovative techniques.

The Delhi government is claiming that its investing in building new schools and training teachers to rectify the education system's biggest maladies - poor infrastructure and shortage of teachers. In a report, the Hindustan Times spoke to experts, parents, teachers and students to present a charter of demands for improving school education in the Capital.


A few years ago, there was an alarming record of young students who committed suicide as they had failed to clear their exams. Since then, the then government started the nondetention policy which allowed students to be promoted irrespective of their performance till the eight standard. As a result, students have stopped working hard for they know that eventually they will be promoted. 


Similarly, parents are happy enough to know that their child's year is not wasted at least by getting promoted promptly. But what this also means is that, by the time the student comes to the ninth standard, there is a high chance he/she knows very little about his syllabus. Some don't even know the ABC of their subjects! So, obviously when they reach the ninth standard, they suddenly face the pressure of difficult subjects and eventually fail to clear their exams. Since the non-detention policy is no longer applicable, they are allowed to try and pass twice, after which they are expelled. Many students actually wait for the day of their expulsion because they simply don't want to continue studying.


The loot by the private schools of Delhi is not a new story. The Delhi High Court in its decision dated August 12, 2011 in Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh and others vs. GNCTD and others had constituted Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee to look into the accounts of each school and to find out whether the fee hike by private unaided schools on the pretext of the Sixth Central Pay Commission was justified. The High Court had also directed that if the feehike were found to be unjustified, it would be refunded by the school to parents along with 9 percent interest. 

Justice Dev Singh Committee has so far indicated more than 450 schools and the refundable amounts cumulatively come to over Rs 250 crore. However, until now, not a single school has refunded the due amounts to the parents. Earlier in 1997 when the parents had approached the High Court against fee-hike on the pretext of implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission, the High Court vide an interim order had permitted the schools to increase fee by up to 40 percent, resulting in recovery of over Rs 400 crore from the parents of Delhi.

This was to be subject to the findings of Justice Santosh Duggal Committee and liable to be refunded if found unjustified.However, the DoE-Private Schools nexus deliberately stifled the working of this committee. As a result, no amount has been refunded till date.


The AAP government's claims that private schools in Delhi would have to be closed if they are forced to pay same wages as in the government schools would put the biggest apologists of privatisation to shame. Most of the teachers in these schools and particularly the young women teachers have to work in precarious work conditions.


The government has pointed to practices such as "schools forcing teachers to sign in pay slips with amounts that are much higher than the actual wages which they receive". This is true indeed, but then the present move would do nothing to improve the actual conditions of these teachers, apart from obviously satisfying the 'honesty-fetish' of AAP. 


AAP leaders and volunteers associated with the education sector said no detention policy, years of accumulated learning deficit, pressure on the teachers to complete the syllabileading to inability to bring weaker children to the desired level,and above all, huge variances in basic skills like reading/writing within a single classroom are the reason identified for deteriorating education system. 

Under the Chunauti programme, the AAP government is supposed to improve the education system. However, the way programme has been framed created three classes out of one class, it's directed towards creating employment for the AAP volunteers, feasting on government funds.   

Under this programme,regrouping of students of class 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th is done according to the learning skill they have acquired so far. 


This kind of re-grouping facilitates the teachers as they will not have to tackle huge variances in learning levels of students in the same class. Skilled students will also benefit because teachers will be able to focus more and directly on the students whose learning levels need to be upgraded most, thus reducing the accumulated learning deficit. 


However, there is no plan how to tackle the other two groups. In the end it would endup only being an employment generating factory for the AAP volunteers at the cost of public fund.

CONTACT ASHISH SOOD

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