The prevailing education system of the current dispensation in Delhi reminds me of the words of American education reformer John Dewey. He had said, “ Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” And Mr Kejriwal and team are no doubt playing with the lives of our young students. Well, the usage of the word “playing” over here might sound harsh but it’s the bitter truth. Education is one of the most important aspects of any government and hence the portfolio needs extra care but I need not say much as facts, figures, surveys and media reports can say a lot in this regard.
Let me start by highlighting the fact that there is a dearth of qualified teachers in Delhi government schools. The guest teachers so appointed are not competent enough and this fact became quite evident when the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) told the honourable Delhi High Court on March 5 this year that out of 21,135 guest teachers, who wanted to be regularised, 16,383 of them could not even achieve the minimum passing marks in the examination conducted to fill a large number of vacancies in the government schools. Needless to say, the AAP government is still hell-bent on regularising the guest teachers and even passed a bill in the assembly. Earlier, the Delhi High Court had pulled up the government saying, “If guest teachers were at all competent, they would pass the exam conducted for regular teachers.”
Now obviously, incompetent teachers are directly proportional to student failures. An RTI reply stated that the number of government school students who failed in the academic session 2015-16 were 15112 in class 10 and 14562 in class 12. In 2016-17, 11,738 failed class 10 and 14274 flunked class 12. Session 2017-18 was the worst with 42503 failures in class 10 and 10,566 failures in class 12.
We even witnessed a drastic measure by the government last year when they barred 42503 class 10 students, who had failed the board exams, from taking re-admission. The school authorities followed the Delhi school education rules and instead forced the students to take transfer certificates and asked them to opt for National Institute of Open school learning. Is this a way to show that government schools are producing better academic results? Even the High Court seemed pained by such an autocratic ruling. It scolded the authorities saying, “ How could you throw the students out? Where will they go?.” Despite such a concern, an RTI reply stated that only 3812 class 10 students were re-admitted and out of the 10, 566 class 12 failures, only 943 were given re-admission in the academic session 2018-19. Indeed, where will the rest go? How will they ever grow?
This was not the only time when the court pulled up the AAP dispensation. Holes were blown into the tall claims of the Aam Aadmi Party on education being its top focus when it was found that a fully aided government school in the city’s Karawal Nagar area was in a pathetic condition. The school playground was used as a dumping ground for garbage and domestic waste and due to a lack of desks and chairs, students were seen sitting on floors. The High Court reprimanded the government heavily and ordered immediate provision of water, toilet facilities along with the solutions for other inadequacies and infrastructural aid.
It is absurd how the government is just coming out with new ways of completely disturbing and burdening the education system. Now it asked all city schools to submit personal details of students and their family members, including vital documents such as Aadhaar and voter ID-cards. Isn’t this a clear breach of privacy? The Delhi government again faced the ire of the High Court when the former said that the primary purpose of the move was to separate students from other states. Clearly, such a move would come as a burden on students, teachers and the education machinery, and the collection and subsequent digitization of documents would cause a financial burden on the exchequer.
Alas, it is beyond the understanding of Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia. I have much more to say about the terrible staff crisis and other concerns in Delhi government schools but the thick-skinned AAP does not care two hoots about such problems. The placards are out for election campaigns and soon next year we will see them reading out of a manifesto of lies.