Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar on Monday announced that the state government has decided to adopt the Delhi model of education to enhance the quality of education imparted to the children studying in schools which come under the municipal corporations. The plan is to implement the model on a pilot basis in civic-run schools and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has been asked to study the model and come up with a framework.
“Today, the Delhi school education model is considered to be the best in the country. The transformation in education system under the Delhi model needs a relook and should be replicated to raise the standard of education in Maharashtra,” he had said at a school education review meeting at the Mantralaya.
All praises for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s initiative, Pawar said, “The Delhi model will ensure both effective financial management and also better educational standards. Education is the government’s priority. The state government will ensure ordinary people are also provided quality education. There will be no paucity of funds for education of children. However, government will not tolerate misuse of funds for education of children. The government will not tolerate misuse of funds allocated for education. Every student, irrespective of his family income and category, is entitled to quality education, and the government is committed to accomplish this agenda.”
What the Delhi model of education is and why it is lauded by all
In 2019, the Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, run by the Delhi government topped the India School Ranking for government day schools in the country. This was possible due to the government’s model of education – with effective in-school plans and provision of all the necessary aid needed for students’ success.
Moving away from dingy classrooms, brick walls, dirty toilets and the like, the Delhi government, headed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) revamped the face of education in the capital in a quick three years from 2015 – 2018. The credit for turning the system over on its head is given to by Rhodes Scholar Atishi Marlena, an alumna of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and Oxford University, UK who joined AAP as an advisor.
In the first step towards the ‘Education Revolution’, the government doubled the allocation in the budget, with Delhi allocating 22.8% of its total budget to education in the year 2016 – 17. However, this was just the first step. The work towards creating an exemplary model involved working on the four pillars – modernizing infrastructure, capacity building of school teachers and principals, making school administration accountable and improving learning outcomes.
1. Modernizing Infrastructure – Seeing that there was an acute shortage of classrooms, AAP first worked to increase that number and built approximately 8,000 classrooms from 2015 – 2017. In 2017 – 18, it reached the number of 10,000 and added 21 more schools to accommodate students. It also created around 54 pilot schools with smart classrooms and better infrastructure and also appointed Estate Managers, fixed sanitation staff and other modern equipment to ensure that to aid the comfort of the students.
2. Capacity building of Teaching Staff and Principals – To tackle low teacher retention, the party altered the model of training, giving workshops to over 20,000 teachers who were asked to create supplementary material for their subjects in groups under the supervision of facilitators. This peer-based learning experience made a world of a difference and the decision of making Principals meet with facilitators for a monthly dialogue only fostered the progress. Also, the Mentor Teacher program was begun where a cadre of 200 talented teachers were allocated to schools in groups of 5 or 6 to provide academic support to other teachers making them the bedrock of the education system.
3. Making school administration accountable – To keep school administration accountable, surprise inspections were held, and the officials of the Directorate of Education were made to monitor and track the management of schools through a network of School Management Committees, pulling up and suspending anyone found guilty of purposeful negligence and corruption.
4. Improving learning outcomes – The education department observed that many students who entered the secondary school were riddled with severe learning deficiencies. To tackle this, the government started the ‘Every Child Can Read’ campaign where apart from efforts by school teachers, the members of the community started ‘Reading Melas’ across the capital.
The government also brought in Chunauti 2018 – a reform aimed at reducing the dropout rate in schools, especially in Classes 6 to 9 to ensure that students who weren’t at their grade level were equipped with reading, writing and basic math competency to ensure the progress of children especially when they reach Class 9.
Also, through the DHE, the Delhi Higher Education Aid Trust decided to fully or partially reimburse the tuition fee paid by the students. The specifics of the same being –
(a) 100% tuition fee of the meritorious students belonging to economically weaker section i.e. wards of parent/s who possess relevant card issued under the National Food Security Scheme,
(b) 50% of tuition fee to meritorious students having annual family income up to Rs. 2.50 lakh and are not covered under the National Food Security Scheme,
(c) 25% reimbursement of tuition fee to meritorious students having annual income above Rs 2.50 lakh but below Rs 6 lakh. The qualifying aggregate percentage of marks for all three categories is 60%. A relaxation of 5% in qualifying aggregate percentage of marks will be allowed to SC/ST category students. The scheme will be administered and managed by the concerned Delhi state universities/institutions for themselves and for other colleges/institutions affiliated to them.
Apart from formal education, the education department also took care to provide transformative learning to understand psychological and social issues affecting students and working towards resolving them. One of the other most important aspects of the Education Revolution was getting students to understand and contribute to legal policy and for them to see how the law works in action, especially with regards to vulnerable communities.
The AAP now has many a thing to its credit. With innovative programmes that look towards bringing in wholesome development of students, they have set an example that has inspired the state of Maharashtra to follow suit.
This, especially at a time when the Central government is looked at with suspicion to constantly privatize education and turning a blind eye to the plight of government schools in the country. It also cut budgetary allocation for education from 0.64 percent in 2014 – 15 to 0.45 percent in 2019 – 20. The Centre also encouraged the practice of generating loans through the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) asking educational institutions to repay principal loans through internal funds; the same leading to massive fee hikes.
In contrast to this, the Delhi government has taken a route to stop students and parents from being exploited by private players, ensuring that civic schools address all the needs of the children without burning a hole in the parents’ pocket.
AAP has been lauded for its public-centered initiatives especially the enhancement of the education system. Its successes and staying true to its promises has created a trust factor in the people of Delhi. With top leaders being impressed with the work carried out in Delhi’s schools, will this bolster their campaign and cement their success in the upcoming Assembly elections?