Ideally, education is provided at different stages to the children; these categorisation are based on the age of the child, and the stages are – pre-primary, primary, middle, secondary, senior-secondary and University Level. But, the government of Delhi has entirely revamped this structure. Composite schools, known as Sarvodaya Vidyalayas, started by AAP conduct classes from standards I to XII. The government of Delhi, in this initiative has converted 325 schools into Sarvodaya Vidyalayas. Apart from this, at the university level, the Govt. of Delhi is running 28 Degree Colleges which are funded by the UGC and Delhi Government.
The recent Delhi government school makeover is to the credit of Atishi Marlena. She studied at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and Oxford Univeristy in the UK, and was also a Rhodes scholar and later on went to join the Aam Aadmi Party in the capacity of an advisor.
When we think of government schools, the images that pop in our mind are those of dingy classrooms, no benches, brick walls, dirty toilets, shabby kids and the like. The Delhi government has persevered to change this image, one plan at a time, by the introduction of over 26 programmes aimed at changing the entire structure of government school education in India.
In a short span of three years, the Delhi Government plans have changed the entire picture of education. Let us take a look, one plan at a time.
Chunauti is based on improving the foundation of students. Despite studying for many years, many students cannot even read a simple passage or solve a math problem. Many students even find it difficult to clear the 9th and 10th grade. Hence, Chunauti was launched in June 2016, to bridge the learning gaps from grades 6th to 8th, thereby also ensuring zero dropouts in Grade 9.
This programme has led to a better result for classes 6, 7 and 8 which is improved in numerical terms from 60%, 61%, and 65% to 66%, 69% and 73% respectively.
This campaign focuses on children from classes 6th to 8th. A basic learning material/reading assessment tool for the campaign was developed by the NGO Pratham consisting of short stories, paragraphs and word cards, and administered on one on one basis by the teachers. It has 6 levels – beginner, letter, word, paragraph (Std 1 level competency), Story (Std 2 level competency) and Advance Story (having an excerpt of about 100 words from the textbook of Std 6). The highest level attained by the child is recorded as her/his reading level. Hence a child who is at paragraph level means that he can read letters, words and paragraphs but not story or advance story.
At the baseline it was found that, only 25% of students could read in Std.6. After the programme it was found that 46% could read advance stories. And, while earlier only 14% could read a simple text of Std 1 level, whereas now, that has increased to 32.
An initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) under RMSA, to promote arts in education by nurturing and showcasing the artistic talent of school students at the secondary stage in the country through music, theatre, dance, visual arts and crafts at the district, state and National level. It helps the students in identifying and understanding the diverse tangible and intangible cultural expressions. NCT of Delhi was paired with Sikkim for the year 2016-17; it involved participation of 4235 students from across 750 schools and Delhi won prizes in music at national level.
The government has established 11 incubation Centres giving them a grant of Rs. 1.5 crore as seed money for each. College/university students with creative minds are given an opportunity to explore their ideas through a platform and financial assistance. It would be accessible to the current students, alumni, faculty/staff and experienced alumni would forward to share their experiences and help the budding incubates. Even after the passing out of college, the students are connected to their teachers/professors. The government intends to have 1000 incubatees by 2020 in its educational institutes.
Starting in December 2016, this programme was launched in order to connect and equip the teachers by SCERT, Delhi. This Online Capacity Building Programme (OCBP) was incorporated to connect and equip the teachers posted at different locations. The content is provided through an app platform and can be accessed on smartphones through a mobile application called ChalkLit and from the web. It complements the challenges of face to face training which are pulling out teachers for training from their school hours, tracking analytics of training, among others. The trainings on content are mapped as per the annual academic calendar of schools.
Under the scheme, the Delhi Higher Education Aid Trust through Directorate of Higher Education (DHE), Govt. of NCT of Delhi will fully or partially reimburse the tuition fee paid by the students. The extent of reimbursement will be under three categories:
(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.
Under the Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy, and Governance (CLPG) established in 2014, students would assist jail authorities in implementing Section 436 A, CrPC, and also contribute to legal policy. The policy interventions by the Centre provide assistance to Courts, prison authorities, and prisoners. Since the Centre also involves student volunteers for these projects, students also get an opportunity to contribute to legal policy, and to see how the law works in action, especially in its interaction with vulnerable communities. The work of the Centre also feeds into legal policy formulation, such as the 268th Report of the Law Commission of India on bail law, to which the faculty members of the Centre contributed.
The principal, in Peter Senge’s language, is a fulcrum point leading learning and its process in the whole school. Principals are caught between a lot of different bodies, adding to their pressure; they are often caught between higher administrators, parents, teachers and their own sense of what students need. This programme helps identify the leadership qualities among the principals, nurture it, and then spread it among others. This programme is currently operating in 1024 government secondary schools through 60 motivated facilitators with exposure and educational trip to IIMs, Cambridge and Finland.
With the rising cases of children in conflict with law or outright crime, their relations with their own parents and teachers are not cordial at times. Keeping this in mind, the government launched the Value Education Programme under the umbrella of Cell for Human Values and Transformative Learning, in March 2015, to understand and address these issues, and focus on the affective and psychomotor aspects, and not just cognitive aspects. Multiple workshops focusing on enhancing humanness, human values and human consciousness are held for school students, DIET trainees, teachers, teacher-educators, CRCs, BRPs SMC members, parents.