New Delhi, April 21, 2017: To fulfill the promise of better and corruption-free education, the Aam Aadmi Party Government has passed a bunch of bills to introduce major reforms in Delhi’s education system including- the Delhi School (Verification of Accounts and Refund of Excess Fee Bill) 2015, the Delhi School Education ( Amendment) Bill 2015 and The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Delhi Amendment) Bill which scraps the no-detention policy from entry level classes.
According to the Delhi’s Deputy CM and Education Minister Manish Sisodiya, it was necessary to bring these changes in the present education system because “in the present, nobody could run a private school without engaging in cheating or corruption”.
But how much work has actually happened?
Educationists have already shown concerns about AAP’s scheme from the very beginning. The party has been directed by the Delhi high Court to defend its education reform plan ‘Chunauti 2018’, after a plea alleged that the policy excludes primary school students. Many such controversies have always followed the education reform issue.
The ‘Chunauti 2018’ plan, introduced by the Directorate of Education, specifies the method to assess and guide students from 6 to 9 with an aim of improving learning levels. According to opposing pleas, the emphasis is more on school buildings, teachers and toilets rather than learning.
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Assessment has shown huge learning deficits as well. Also, a test conducted by the government indicated that 74% of class 6 students could not read or write Hindi texts, proving the existence of major loopholes in the primary education system.
Credit should be given where it is due.
It is noteworthy that Deputy CM Manish Sisodia has realised that improving education is very much needed and AAP is earnest to make an impact. But misdirected efforts can lead to fruitless results, and at the end effort or potential becomes secondary, only the result counts. In the name of a corruption-free education, AAP seems much more interested in the competition between government schools and the private schools, as proven by the CBSE Class 12 result out hype.
So where exactly are the reforms headed?
Many government schools do not offer critical and difficult core subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology. How can Government schools claim to be doing their jobs unless they offer these science stream subjects to interested students?
NewsGram, in order to do a reality check, contacted Naveen Kumar Uppal former District In-charge of West Delhi School Management Committee ( a task force made by Delhi Govt to employ and oversee the reforms and SMC functioning) and also an AAP volunteer.
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According to Naveen Uppal” “Arvind Kejriwal had said that within five years they will make sure that the government schools become more developed than private schools. As he is not able to actually follow that road, even after saying all that, he is opting for such hype.”
“He even talked about his experiences as a district in-charge SMC, when the authorities were mute about their numerous complaints about corrupted school principal of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Chand Nagar, Rajouri Garden and much more such incidents.
According to Uppal, there has been very little concrete work, AAP has just been busy with media hype. “The conditions of the schools actually have not changed much,” he added.
Uppal also points out to the wastage of crores of rupees being spent on housekeeping of schools, yet the facilities are not available much. Authorities have been silent about these complaints as well. “We all want what’s best for the society. Something good and concrete must happen,” he added.
A number of people believe that AAP actually lacks a solid planning to execute something as big as this. Allegedly, all the chairpersons in the School Management Committees are AAP volunteers who are either portrayed as Social workers or MLA representatives. One can easily get their names from Delhi Govt. run schools and trace their history as AAP volunteers.
Also, it is very much evident that AAP has a very hostile relationship with the private schools in Delhi. Parents in Delhi have hardly got any relief with respect to admission processes in private schools.
The EC recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs under the ‘office of profit’ pretext
AAP looks forward to approaching the Delhi High court
The controversy started after Prashant Patel had submitted an application to the President
The Election Commission has recommended the disqualification 20 AAP MLAs. The EC found them guilty of holding an ‘office of profit’. The recommendation has been sent to the President. If cleared, the disqualification would mean that AAP’s strength in Delhi Assembly will reduce from 67 to 47.
The 20 AAP legislators were accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist various ministers of the Delhi government. The EC’s opinion on this matter means that the AAP legislators are set to be disqualified, which could soon force a mini Assembly election in the national capital.
“This is unprecedented. The MLAs in question didn’t get a chance to present their case before the EC. In fact, we didn’t hear the news from the EC, but news channels,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said.
The ‘office of profit’ controversy had started after a lawyer, Prashant Patel, had filed an application in 2015 to the President’s office. It questioned the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.
The Congress had filed a petition in Election Commission in 2016 as a follow-up, based on this application. The opposition party sought disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs.
AAP had argued that this post did not qualify as an office of profit as there is no monetary benefit attached to it. But then President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, declaring them illegal since the order had been passed “without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor”.
In the first reaction to the EC recommendation, AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted:
This must be the first ever recommendation in EC history where a recommendation has been sent without even hearing the main matter on merits. NO HEARING TOOK PLACE IN EC ON THE POINT OF OFFICE OF PROFIT