Numbers Don’t Lie: The Truth About AAP’s ‘Education Model’ In Delhi – Swarajya

A closer look at learning outcomes and other related numbers lays bare the truth of the ‘world class education model’ in New Delhi.
The AAP government has made many claims and run many ads about the “world-class education model” in Delhi.
Hyperbole aside, what are the facts?
Here are certain numbers that unveil the truth behind Delhi’s Education Model.
New Schools Vs “Classrooms”
When the AAP is reminded of its manifesto promise of building 500 new schools in Delhi, their party spokespersons would be quick to remind the questioner of the number of new classrooms built, instead.
However, even that claim is now being seriously contested.
A Central Vigilance Commission report, submitted to the Delhi government in 2020, has revealed shocking details of financial misconduct and procedural lapses in the construction of new classrooms.
The report points to cost escalation, taking the project Rs 326.25 crores over the tender amount issued. It also highlights the sub-standard quality of work and incomplete status of the project in many schools.
The actual number of classrooms built was 4,027 in 141 schools against the targeted number of 6,133 in 194 schools. More toilets were built but they were shown equivalent to the category of classrooms.
The CVC report noted that only 4,027 classrooms were constructed, but the payment was done for for 7,137 classrooms.
The figure included toilet blocks, special rooms etc, which were added later and had nothing to do with the original objective of bringing down the student-classroom ratio. But they were considered classrooms and the payment was done accordingly.
The government hid the report for 2.5 years till the Delhi LG stepped in, seeking accountability for the inexplicable delay in acting on the report’s findings.
Coming back to the number of new schools constructed, an RTI has revealed that 63 new schools have been opened in New Delhi between February 2015 and May 2022. However, the actual number is nowhere near the promised 500 new schools.
Also, it is to be noted that in recent TV debates, AAP leaders have claimed that 500 schools have been constructed by them. However, none of the ministers, including the education minister or spokespersons of the government has been able to provide a list of the newly constructed schools.
What Do the 10th and 12th Results Tell?
The results of the 10th and 12th classes are considered crucial for the evaluation of a student’s academic performance. They are also an indicator of the overall state of education.
In these two aspects, the performance of the AAP government hasn’t been the most spectacular, as they claim it to be. In 2022, the 10th class passing percentage of Delhi’s government schools fell to 81.36 per cent, below the national pass percentage of 94.4 per cent.
The private schools, however, performed better than the national average with a pass percentage of 95.99 per cent.
For the first time since 2014, the 12th class passing percentage, at 96.01 per cent, in Delhi’s government schools, though higher than the national average, was lower than the passing percentage in the private schools at 97.65 per cent.
High Dropout Rates
More concerning have been the enrollment and retention rates. In a white paper published by Praja Foundation, the data from 2013-14 to 2016-17, showed the following about the Delhi government schools:
Of the 219,377 students who got enrolled in class 9th in 2013-14, 44 per cent of students did not reach class 12th in 2016-17.
26 per cent didn’t go to class 12th (the academic year 2016-17) from class 11th (the academic year 2015-16).
43 per cent didn’t go to class 10th (the academic year 2016-17) from class 9th (the academic year 2015-16).
The report stated that the transition rate of students from Class 9 to 10 was 56.95 per cent. While it was 98.55 per cent from Class 7 to 8 for the academic year 2015-16 to 2016-17.
This indicates that almost half of the students did not pass the examination at the secondary level, while in primary and middle school, they were promoted irrespective of learning levels.
Due to the no-detention policy, students climb up the classes till the 9th standard. However, lack of effort in improving their learning outcomes, results in failure in transitioning to the 10th class.
In 2018-19, it was found that 42 per cent of those not passing the exam, ultimately drop off from the school system entirely. Only a few students reach the high school level.
The low transition rate points to grave shortcomings in the education system, which are not reflected in the passing percentages of the 10th and 12th class.
Migration From Private to Government Schools: Voluntary or Forced?
Another oft-repeated claim by the AAP government is about the number of private school students joining government-aided schools. However, the pandemic-induced shift has less to do with Delhi’s government schools’ performance and more to do with financial compulsions.
Delhi government’s Economic Survey 2021-22 showed that 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.
The pandemic year saw a decrease in the share of Delhi’s private schools in the total enrolment, after consistently rising every year from 2014-15.
As per a news report, “in 2014-2015 this share stood at 30.52 per cent. It has increased from year by year to 31.51 per cent (2015-16); 39.95 per cent (2016-17); 41.70 per cent (2017-18); 42.56 per cent (2018-19) and to 42.65 per cent in 2019-2020.”
The pandemic year has been a year of economic disruptions for many families. The shift of students from private to government schools reflects the inability of the parents to pay school fees, considering the high fees in Delhi’s private schools and lackluster implementation of the EWS scheme.
Poor Implementation of EWS Scheme
As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, private schools are mandated to reserve 25 per cent of the seats at the primary or pre-primary level for students from economically weaker sections or disadvantaged groups.
The cost of education must be divided between the school and the government, with the latter footing most of the bill.
However, as per an NCPCR report, in 2021-22, 40,000 seats were allotted for the EWS category, but only 28,000 students were admitted. Many schools even denied admission to children from the EWS category.
Lack of Teachers and Principals
In terms of management, data available on UDISE+ Dashboard for 2020-21, points to the lack of principals in government schools. Out of a total of 1,027 schools run by the Delhi government, only 203 schools have a Headmaster/acting Headmaster/Principal.
As per an RTI, at least 45,503 posts of teachers are lying vacant in Delhi government-run schools, which amounts to a shortfall of almost 52 per cent. There are 22,000 guest teachers in the government schools, who are awaiting to be regularised.
Limited Scope to Study Science or Maths
An RTI revealed that only one-third of the Delhi government schools teach Science at the higher secondary level. Out of the 1,097 schools under the Delhi government, only 291 government schools offer science as an option.
Commerce subjects are taught in only 674 schools. A reason for the low number of schools offering Science subjects is the inability of the students to score enough in the 10th exams making them eligible to choose science.
In addition, if science is offered in a school, it needs to be well equipped with labs and other critical infrastructure along with qualified teachers.
Despite the increase in the education budget, these lacunas have not been bridged and students in government schools continue to suffer from a lack of opportunities, unlike their counterparts studying in private institutions.
Below National Average Learning Outcomes
As per the National Achievement Survey (NAS) Report 2017, the performance of students of Class-3 and Class-5, in Delhi, was below the national average in Mathematics, Environmental Science, as well as in Language.
The statistics should worry the AAP government in Delhi. However, it has not displayed any urgency in correcting the basics of the national capital’s education system.
It 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.
These initiatives work on a broad, abstract level but in terms of learning outcomes, the government has little to speak about.
The AAP’s Education Model boasts of training students in becoming future entrepreneurs. But, without the knowledge of science or the spirit of innovation inculcated at the school level, could the students compete in an increasingly digital world?
A majority of Delhi’s ‘Education Model’ is a product of AAP’s ad spree. By displaying photos of selected schools with coloured walls and classrooms, the Delhi government is projecting itself as the next big thing in national politics.
However, when it comes to facts, Delhi’s education model has proven to be lacking in several parameters including learning outcomes, dropout rates, number of teachers and so on.
Also Read: Delhi: Education Under AAP Government Is No Success Story, It’s A Tale Of Poor Outcomes And Misplaced Priorities
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