What makes the Delhi model of education a half success?

In the present 2021-22 session for admissions in Delhi government schools the schools have been getting more than the usual number of applications. As per government sources, above 2.3 lakh plus were seeking admissions to the schools. It is noteworthy that these were non-plan admissions for those students who are drop out of school for numerous reasons. For instance, the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulted disruption, reduction in incomes, out of pocket expenditures, among others.

“In normal years, we had 100-150 of such admissions but it’s considerably more this year. Most importantly in this is that we have a nice new building which is attracting more parents and we have been producing good results. There are economic considerations for parents as well because of the pandemic. Our student strength has now increased from around 2,400 to 2,900. I am hoping that teacher post fixations can be done as soon as possible so that the number of teachers also grow with the number of students so teaching-learning can happen well,” said Principal, Awadhesh Jha, Government Co-Ed Senior Secondary School, Rohini Sector 8. (Source: IE, Sep 14, 2021)

It is amidst that we endeavour to analyse the question, what makes the Delhi model of education successful and how that is a half success?

The Delhi government schools have gone through an enormous transformation in recent years. The inputs to the said transformation were increasing allocation in budget intending to improve the infrastructure of the schools, investing in teacher training programs as well as student learning programs. The government allocated ₹16,377 crores for the education sector in 2021-22 budget up from ₹15,815 crores previously. All of this encouraged the parents from a socially and economically humble background to send their children to government schools from private schools as private education comes with an immense financial burden on parents.

Another reason behind the appreciated transformation has been the reforms made in the teaching-learning process. The SMART classrooms, e-modules to make learning interesting, 3-tier library structure, among others are credited for Delhi government schools outperforming the private ones. ‘Deshbhakti Curriculum’ has been launched recently by the government with an objective to build patriotic doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc. Earlier the Happiness Curriculum was introduced by Dalai Lama in 2020 on his 85th birthday for Delhi government schools to make students more reflective with their peers and teachers with that encourage them to think about long term approaches to mental health.

The majority of Delhi government school students were first-generation learners considering the fact there existed cultural restraints as most parents have never been inside their ward’s school that lead to disengagement of parents from their child’s learning process. It was resolved by re-activating School Management Committees (SMCs) and conducting regular Parent-Teacher Meetings (PTMs).

However, despite all the successes of the Delhi model of education, it is still a half success. As there exist 20,000 teachers working in Delhi government schools as guest teachers and desire regularisation. The appointment of guest teachers in Delhi government schools started in 2010 with the stated objective of a stop-gap measure in the absence of regular recruitment of teachers however, the same continues.

The Delhi government schools transformation in recent years has indeed been a success, despite that without addressing the issues concerning guest teachers it remains a half success. A teacher is a candle that spends her/his life lighting up the lives of students, therefore the call of guest teachers should not be disregarded and needful measures are anticipated from the government both at the union territory and the central level that are in the best interest of the Delhi model of education making it a complete success.

(Vrinda Khanna has been the Research Assistant for the title).

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