The Delhi model
Kolawole damilare Emmanuel
Feb. 12, 2020
The Delhi government has indeed revolutionised the public school education system by showing the political will to spend a large amount of money on an area that is often neglected in this era of populist politics. First, the government took steps to improve infrastructure. Next, it instituted school management committees, giving a sense of ownership to parents in the learning process of their children. These were not novel concepts, they were very much present in the Right to Education Act; what was needed to put them into action was political will. However, the face of education is not something that can be changed in a span of five years; it needs sustained investment, both financial and political (Op-Ed page, “The Delhi model of education,” Feb. 12).
Sandeep Kumar Meena,
Education is a crucial enabler, which will help people realise their dreams and desires. Hence, the role government needs to play in the educational sector — to make it affordable and accessible to even poorest of the poor — cannot be understated.
Government investment in the education sector can initiate pleasing and long-lasting chain reactions. For instance, it is Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, who played a pivotal role in establishing IITs in the 1950s. Subsequently, the premier institutions produced many illustrious alumni, including Arvind Kejriwal, bringing name and fame to our country. No wonder, Mr. Kejriwal inherently understands the importance of government investments in the education sector and the rich dividends they can deliver. And, this is reflected in the fact that nearly 25% of the State Budget of Delhi government is marked for education.
The AAP government made game-changing moves in the education sector. The overwhelming verdict of the Delhi people should only give the party more encouragement to carry its work forward.
Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu
The victory of the AAP in the Delhi elections is a pointer to the fact that divisive politics is subject to the law of diminishing returns beyond a point. No less importantly, it highlights how important it is to make quality education accessible to all, this having been one of the main planks of the AAP’s election campaign. Today, our education system suffers from a debilitating class divide. At one end of the spectrum, we have the private schools which impart quality education, boast excellent facilities and use English as the medium of instruction. Because of these schools charging hefty fees and collecting donations, they are normally out of reach of children from less privileged families. At the other end are the typical government schools where teachers hardly have the skills or motivation to do justice to their jobs. These schools normally use the regional language as the medium of instruction. Not surprisingly, they mainly cater to the the children from less privileged backgrounds. Children passing out from these schools often suffer from an inferiority complex due to their inability to handle English well. This is not surprising considering the disproportionate importance attached to the knowledge of English in our job market and the social set-up in general. The way the AAP government has worked to address the divide by improving the infrastructure and teaching standards in government schools is commendable indeed. In fact, it is learnt that in some areas of Delhi, government schools have started giving their private counterparts a run for their money. One hopes that the results of the Delhi election will start a new trend in Indian politics which is more about bread-and-butter issues and less about creating divides among people.
The electorate of Delhi delivered a mandate that is path-breaking. The AAP performed in its previous tenure and got rewarded with an astounding victory. The BJP played politics, almost divisive at that, and paid the penalty. But then, the point to note is that more than 40% of the electorate endorsed the BJP, which could increase its tally from 3 to 8. Nevertheless, the AAP did a great job and opened up the only way to win, that is, perform/deliver. Political rhetoric often indulged in by the BJP is passé by now. The mini-India that is Delhi dearly hugged the AAP for the manner in which it had implemented all its electoral promises despite several constraints and obstacles. However, freebies do not provide a long-term solution. All these freebies should be done away with in a phased manner so that all sections of the people feel proud to earn and spend for their own living, instead of depending on the government for everything. Democracy does not mean that the poor need freebies from the government. The poor need employment or livelihoods so that they can earn for themselves a decent living. For this, the state needs to educate the poor and make them work by providing necessary avenues. Ever after seven decades of Independence, India is still struggling in this regard, a pointer to the fact that there has been mismanagement of finances and, more importantly, wrong priorities in planning.
Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
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