“Education holds the key to economic growth, social transformation, modernization and national integration.” This is the introductory line on the homepage of the Delhi Government Directorate of Education. While a lot of governments have such more catchy and promising lines, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has strived hard and ensured that this policy does not remain bound within the lines of a paper.
AAP also organises ‘AAP Dekho’ tours which give an insight into the ground development done by the government in schools, where they try to shed the old notion of government schools and blend into the idea of new-age teaching with smart boards and the like.
Nikhil Taneja, a writer by profession and teacher by passion, went on one such tour and shared how impressed and happy he was with the work carried on by the AAP government.
Youth Ki Awaaz spoke with Nikhil to know about his experience and he spoke about the tour warmed his heart seeing the students beaming with joy, and how the tour also made him hopeful. “As a teacher myself, I’m keenly invested in education and when I got the opportunity to go on an AAP Dekho tour, I lapped it up. To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for all that I’d get to see. In a government school, the teachers were using smart boards for teaching, the students were very disciplined, the lab equipments, computers, furniture were all neat and shiny, the auditoriums were well equipped, and the atmosphere was one of learning. It really warmed my heart speaking to a few kids – and the teachers – and seeing their commitment towards sincere education. I’m not a person with political party inclinations, but I am so thankful to the people in the AAP education portfolio for putting so much focus on free education to Delhi’s children. Education is the real way to bring change. And I hope that they manage to take this spirit far and wide!” he said.
The importance that this government has given to education is very clearly seen in the budgetary sanctions that it has laid aside. Out of the total Rs. 53,000 crore budget of the Delhi government this year, 13,997 crore were allocated to education, that comes around to 26% of the total budget, which is a huge margin of departure from previous times.
A total of Rs. 175 crore were allocated for the installation of about 1.2 lakh CCTV cameras to be installed in the new school buildings. They further allocated Rs. 10 crore for self-defence training of girl students, Rs. 20 crore for sports activities, Rs. 315 crore for the development of a world-class skill centre to ensure employment for the youth.
The success of these programmes reflected in the results in schools. The pass percentage at Delhi government schools saw a remarkable increase this year – rising to 90.68% from 88.36% last year. Whereas, in private schools, the percentage increased by 4.15% to reach 88.35%.
Through this initiative, the GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) allotted Rs. 100 crores in its annual budget of 2017-18 for setting up new libraries in schools to promote reading habit and inculcate sense of creativity among students.
It introduced class libraries for 4500 sections from classes Nursery to Class V across 454 Sarvodaya Vidyalayas of Delhi, and 400 new libraries for Middle Classes (VI to X) in schools having high strength of students . It also provided modernised library facilities for 1029 schools. Further, an MoU was also signed with Room to Read India Trust to create unique library experiences for students of primary classes.
A world-class skill centre, Hunar, has been set up under the aegis of DTTE (Directorate of Training and Technical Education) in collaboration with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Government of Singapore. An initiative by the National Skill Development Mission and GNCTD to make Delhi a hub in vocational and technical education, it aims to create skilled manpower which is at par with global standards. It would provide courses in the fields of retail services, hospitality, finance and accounts and information technology as well as train 10,000 students every year.
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Singapore takes pride in its unique brand of college education that is based on a holistic “hands-on, minds-on, hearts-on” approach.
Additionally, more than 25 centres of excellence were created with the help of industrial partners in government Institutes of Training (ITIs) and Technology (earlier Polytechnics). Traditional labs have been converted into state-of-the-art labs with the latest tools and technology. With course curriculum in sync with changing market demand dynamics, more than 50,000 youth pass out of the portals of these institutions as skilled workforce every year.
Right from its inception, the focus of the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-Delhi) has been on becoming a strongly research-led institution. Accordingly, Infosys Centre for Artificial Intelligence has been set up for research purposes with a 3-year corpus grant of Rs. 24 crore by Infosys Foundation. This is one of the largest grants for establishing a research centre in an academic institution given by any Corporation in India, with over 35 research papers published in reputed international journals and over 20 PhD students working on AI projects.
The popular Bollywood movie Hindi Medium ended on a high note when the rich parents decided to withdraw their daughter from a private school (an admission which they struggled to get in the first place) and put her in a government school. It showcased a whole new side to a government school. While in the movie the whole structure of the government school was revamped by the parents, here, we have a government that has revamped the whole structure of the government schools in Delhi.
All I can say is that we have a long way ahead from here, but we have had the best start we could.