The Delhi Model of Education
Analyzing Delhi's Education model
With a pass percentage of over 98% in the last academic year, the changes brought in by the AAP government in Delhi's educational policy have yielded rewards higher than many expected them to.
Comparing this to the performance of private schools falling in Delhi’s jurisdiction, the numbers for which only stood at 92%, is an achievement like no other. This showed an improvement of over 6% by government schools compared to previous years. On the occasion of this landmark event, the Chief Minister of Delhi, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal addressed the media by saying "The private schools in Delhi have achieved 92.2% results, and government schools have received 97.92%, which is the highest among the government schools in the entire country. Examinations were conducted in a total of 916 schools of the Delhi government, out of which 396 schools have received 100% results.”
But this has raised the question of What? What exactly has the government in Delhi done differently that has made them so unique.
Even after the onset of the new wave of COVID pandemic in 2021, Delhi's assembly has allocated a state budget of Rs 16,377 crore, which is over 25% of the total budget, the largest education budget in the nation in terms of percentage.
This is an increase from the earlier model of 24% budget that the AAP government had been following in their years of governance between 2015-2020.
AAP's education first policy saw them infuse the largest share of budget towards education.
In terms of numbers, 2015-16, the government announced Rs 6,208 crores for the school and higher education sector. In the year, 2016-17, the government further increased the education spending to Rs 8,642 crore. 2017-18 saw the AAP government spend Rs 9,888 crores and 2018-19 saw it go up to Rs 11,201 crores.
This increased inflow of money in the rather cash-strapped education sector has seen Delhi's government schools transform themselves from shady back door campuses to full-fledged running infrastructure marvels, that can give any private school in India, a run for its money.
The schools now have state-of-the-art facilities, with gyms, sporting centers, swimming pools, music and dance facilities among many.
Investing where it matters
But making schools beautiful doesn't mean an increase in the quality of education that they provide, and this was very well understood by Mr. Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, who also holds the education portfolio in the government.
To address this issue, the government launched a one of its kind, teacher training program, wherein the teachers from government schools were retrained by the world’s top educators from the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore. They also visited Cambridge University and IIM Ahmedabad to learn about various models of excellence
This has been followed by the setup of the Delhi Board of Education, which has allowed the government to have more autonomous control over what the students are taught in their classes.
By bringing in more focus towards the development of essential soft skills that are needed by the students of the 21st century, they have focused on promoting critical thinking, problem-solving, and application of knowledge among the students.
The government has also focused on early childhood care and education through the means of Anganwadis and the setup of nurseries in government schools, by means of restoring school management committees, each with a budget between 5-7 lakhs, giving them the power to bring about meaningful changes.
This along with a number of small additional schemes such as free coaching for various entrance exams increased teacher-parent interaction through mega meetings, and distribution of students in the class based on their needs has proved to be essential steps.
While the steps taken till now have seen very positive outcomes, the AAP government's aim of revolutionizing the education sector is a work that is still in progress.
While facilities have improved the enrolment rate of government-run schools has been on a downfall since 2013, with the figures showing a 4.8% dip in 2017-2018. Along with this, the schools also have failed to retain students, as more than 50% of students who enrolled in class 9th failed to make it to the 12th standard boards.
Another issue with the current system being followed is the overdependence of schools on the guest teacher as more than 44% of the current teaching workload is on the shoulders of guest lecturers, which has left a large hole for the students who wish to pursue science as lack of regular teaching staff has forced most schools to drop science as a field in higher classes.
The average grades for students between 1-8th standard are poor as well, with C grade being average for more than 75% of the students, showing that while the higher education system has improved positively, its effects have rolled down to the lower classes which holds a large section of the student population.
These limitations might be unaddressed within the system but the AAP government’s effort to transform the often forgotten state-run school system is a feat that deserves to be applauded.