New Delhi, July 30: The condition of government schools in Delhi used to be really bad and such was the situation that these schools were seen as meant for only those who were economically deprived. The opinion that most people in Delhi had about government schools was that they were meant for kids of those dwelling in slums.
These schools had bad infrastructure, poor attendance, dirty campus, smelly toilets and more students could be seen loitering outside the school than inside the classrooms. But things seem to be changing now.
Ever since AAP government came to power in Delhi, the government schools have undergone a sea of changes. The learning ability of Delhi government school students has improved significantly over the past year, a recent report said. In 2017-18, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia had allocated Rs 13,997 crore, which is 26 percent of the total budget, for the education sector in the budget for 2018-2019 fiscal.
This year, the pass percentage of students of Delhi government schools has increased by 2.37, touching 90.64, even as private schools of the city lagged behind at 88.35. The pass percentage is not the only that has improved in recent years. More and more people are now willing to admit their kids in government schools of Delhi.
To know the steps taken by AAP government to bring about a positive change in state-run schools, we spoke to Aam Aadmi Party's Prithvi Reddy. Reddy said that government school teachers were better qualified than their private counterparts, but they lacked work ethics. It is the government school system which has failed us, he said. The AAP leader said that there were long queues for admission to government schools in Delhi, which was unheard of before.
Here is what Prithvi Reddy told OneIndia about the five-pronged approach that the AAP government adopted to drastically improve the government schools in Delhi.
"It has been 3 years of very hard work to bring this system. First thing we focused on was in improving the infrastructure. We built 8,000 class and going to build another 10,000. We have plans to buid 23 new schools. Its not just about class room, we have built complete experience including libraries , gyms, swimming pools. So the first thing was infrastructure," AAP's Prithivi Reddy told OneIndia.
"Then we invested in teacher training. Teachers have gone to Harvards, Cambridge, Singapore for training. This was a great upliftment for them. They are already better qualified, all that they lacked was work ethics, so tried to fix that," he said.
School management committees:
"Third step was to build school management committees. We built a parent-teacher kind of a relationship. In Delhi, schools run in two shifts. What used to happen was that in the evening shift that the school used to shut at 3.45 pm instead of 5 pm and nobody would ask. You cannot expect the minister to go and sit there everyday. So, in some schools parent took turns to sit at the gate. They would lock the gate to ensure that teachers cannot leave. When you empower the beneficiaries to be masters, it does wonders. So, parents are now involved," he said.
"Fourth step was specific programmes like summer camps. We started organising parent-teacher meetings. We organised special learning programmes to read. Such was the state they class 5th students were not able to read class first text books. We organised special programs and the children were able to read in just two months," he told OneIndia.
The government found out that 3.5 lakh students in class 6-8 could not read and launched a campaign to ensure they gained basic reading abilities.The two-month long campaign ended on November 14 last year with the government claiming that 1 lakh students between class 6-8 were able to read their textbooks.
The Delhi government has launched the 'happiness curriculum' for government. Students between Class nursery and Class 8 of Delhi government schools have a 45-minute 'happiness period' which includes meditation, storytelling, question and answer sessions, value education and mental exercises.A team of 40 Delhi government school teachers and educators were involved in the drafting process for six months.