The AAP government in Delhi doesn’t shy away from tooting its own horn about its “world-class education model.” But do numbers back up the grandiose claims?
1) Promise of new schools. AAP’s manifesto promise was to build 500 new schools in Delhi. When the party is reminded of it, they are quick to bring up the number of new classrooms built instead. Even with the goal post shifted, things look bad.
Reality: A CVC report has revealed shocking details of financial misconduct and procedural lapses in the construction of new classrooms. Issues include:
Cost escalation, taking the project Rs 326.25 crore over the tender amount issued
Sub-standard quality of work
Incomplete project status in many schools
Only 4,027 classrooms were built in 141 schools against the targeted 6,133 classrooms in 194 schools (payment was made for 7,137 classrooms)
Things like toilet blocks and special rooms were slid into the category of classrooms
What about new schools, then? 500 schools?! An RTI has revealed that 63 new schools were opened in New Delhi between February 2015 and May 2022.
2) Results in Classes 10, 12. Performance in these two crucial grades point to the overall state of education.
Reality: Actual numbers from 2022 don’t live up to AAP’s hype.
Tenth-grade pass percentage in Delhi’s government schools fell to 81.36 per cent this year, below the national pass percentage of 94.4 per cent.
Note, however, that private schools exceeded the national average with a pass percentage of 95.99 per cent.
The twelfth-class pass percentage was 96.01 per cent. Though higher than the national average, this pass percentage is still lower than in private schools, which clocked 97.65 per cent.
3) Staying in school and college. Here are the dropout figures for Delhi government schools, as published in a white paper by Praja Foundation.
Of the 219,377 students who enrolled in Class 9 in 2013-14, 44 per cent did not reach Class 12 in 2016-17.
26 per cent didn’t move on to Class 12 (academic year, or AY, 2016-17) from Class 11 (AY 2015-16).
43 per cent didn’t move on to Class 10 (AY 2016-17) from Class 9 (AY 2015-16).
Alarming: Almost half of the students did not pass the secondary-level examination, while students in primary and middle school were promoted irrespective of learning levels.
The no-detention policy helps students climb up to Class 9 before a lack of effort in upping learning outcomes results in a failure in students transitioning to Class 10.
In 2018-19, 42 per cent of those not passing the exam were found to ultimately drop off from the school system entirely.
4) Move from private to government schools. AAP likes to talk about the number of private-school students joining government-aided schools.
Reality: The shift has had more to do with the financial compulsions of families during the pandemic. And things are changing already.
The number of students enrolled in private schools in the post-pandemic year saw a dip from 42.65 per cent in 2019-2020 to 39.78 per cent in 2020-21, as per Delhi’s Economic Survey 2021-22.
The pandemic year saw a fall in the share of Delhi’s private schools in total enrolment after consistently rising every year from 2014-15.
The shift speaks to the inability of parents to pay school fees, given the high fees in Delhi’s private schools.
Lacklustre implementation of the EWS scheme may have also accounted for some of the transition to private schools.
40,000 seats were allotted for the ‘economically weaker sections’ in 2021-22, but only 28,000 students were admitted, as per an NCPCR report.
Many schools even denied admission to children from the EWS category.
5) Lack of essential education staff. Where are the facilitators of education?
Reality: Data suggests that many schools don’t have a principal or teachers in sufficient numbers.
Of the 1,027 schools run by the Delhi government, only 203 have a headmaster or acting headmaster or principal.
At least 45,503 teacher posts are lying vacant in government-run schools, which amounts to a shortfall of almost 52 per cent.
There are 22,000 guest teachers in government schools who are awaiting regularisation.
6) Learning science and maths. There is limited scope to study these two key subjects in Delhi government schools.
Reality: Despite the increase in the education budget, students suffer from a lack of options and opportunities.
Of the 1,097 schools under the Delhi government, only 291 schools offer science as an option at the higher secondary level. (The inability of students to secure enough marks in Class 10 and be able to choose science is a likely factor, too.)
Offering science in schools also means providing labs and other necessary infra along with qualified teachers.
Commerce subjects, too, are taught in only 674 schools.
7) Learning outcomes not up to the mark. The performance of Class 3 and Class 5 students was found to be below the national average in mathematics, environmental science, and language, as per the NAS report of 2017.
8) Qualitative accomplishments claimed. AAP counts the introduction of the ‘Deshbhakti’ curriculum, ‘Desh ka Mentor’ programme, and ‘Business Blasters’ project as some of its achievements, as per Delhi’s Economic Survey 2021-22.
Reality: These initiatives work on a broad, abstract level, but in terms of learning outcomes, the government has little to show for it, as the numbers tell us.
Bottom line: A lot of AAP’s “world-class education model” for Delhi is yet to translate from advertisement to reality.
Adapted from Aaina's article.
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