School education: Delhi

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School education in Delhi, students' background and teachers' achievements; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, April 16, 2016

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

Contents

The best type of schools

2017: Govt schools take 9% lead over private in CBSE

Krittika Sharma, Govt schools take 9% lead over pvt , May 29 2017: The Times of India

Students in CBSE affiliated schools in Delhi, registered, 2015-17 and appeared along with pass percentage, 2017; Krittika Sharma, Govt schools take 9% lead over pvt , May 29 2017: The Times of India

Marginal Dip But Better Than CBSE Average

In 2017, the government schools of Delhi -which have undergone a makeover -have increased their performance gap over the private schools to 9% from only 2% last year in pass percentage, a remarkable achievement. This happened despite the government being apprehensive of a dip in performance because of a crackdown on cheating. “We had deputed SDMs and other district officials to keep a close watch on examination centres and ensure that cheating doesn't take place. We knew there were several windows at exam centres where cheating was being enabled and we wanted to make sure that it did not happen under our watch,“ said education minister Manish Sisodia The pass percentage of government schools this year is 88.27%, marginally less than last year's 88.91%. However, this is 6% above the CBSE average of 82.29%. The star performers from these schools are all in the range of late 90s, giving tough competition to students from private schools.

Vikas Upadhyay , a student of Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, Yamuna Vihar, has topped among government schools with 97%. He was a student of Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya No. 2 till Class X but shifted to the RPVV for better facilities. “The Sarvodaya school did not have good labs. I wanted to pursue a career in medical and needed my base to be strong,“ he told TOI.

The private schools of Delhi have secured an average of 79.27%. Some schools like Indian School, Amity International, Mount Abu Public School, Ahlcon International School, etc did exceptionally well.

Indian School, for examp le, secured a school average of 90% with 12 students scoring 100 marks in their subjects. A total of 163 students appeared from Mount Abu Public School, of which 22 secured over 90% aggregate. Similarly , Ahlcon International has seven students above 95% and 40 above 90%.

Among the Amity International schools in Mayur Vihar, Saket and Pushp Vihar, 639 students appeared for the exam and 166 have scored above 90% with 62 students above 95%.

Dropouts

2012-17

Krittika Sharma & Paras Singh, Writing on wall: 1.38L drop out in 5 years, Mar 22, 2017: The Times of India

As Corporation Schools Cut Corners, Education Suffers Due To Poor Infra

Nursery admis sions bring out the paradox in Delhi's primary education: too many kids vying for limited seats in the few “good“ primary schools and too few interested in the 1,662 primary schools that the municipal corporations run. Last year alone, over 35,000 kids dropped out of the corporation schools to take the figure in the past five years to a staggering 1.38 lakh. Clearly , even for the parents that bring their children to these school, mostly domestic helps and menial workers, quality still matters -and that is what they are not reassured of in the institutions run by the civic bodies.

The first response of the corporations is to argue that the dropout rate is due to the labour families migrating elsewhere for jobs. This argument, however, only damns the corporations because under the Right to Education Act, it is the responsibility of local bodies to map their respective areas and ensure the kids get free and compulsory education.Civic bodies do carry out a survey annually to identify kids “left out of the system“, but this job is left to the already overburdened teachers, who, in any case, do not have the expertise for the complex assignment.

The corporations also handily use the government-mandated quota in private school for the economically weaker sections, called EWS, to explain the reluctance of parents to enrol their children in their schools. “Parents prefer to get the children admitted to private school under the 25% EWS quota so they can study up to Class XII,“ said one corporation official. Since the last municipal polls in 2012, SDMC has shut down seven schools. EDMC has closed down 22, while the north corporation, since 2105, has terminated a huge 48 schools. The civic bodies pleaded that the low number of students warranted the closure of these schools.

Senior officials of the education department of South Delhi Municipal Corporation did admit to the fall in quality of education and enrolment.“However, we have done a lot during in the past two years, especially in terms of infrastructure,“ said one official.“NGOs have been roped in to improve quality . They have set up 25 schools as resource centres and these will adopt 10 other schools each.“ Yet in the same period, over 27,000 kids dropped out of SDMC schools.

Infrastructure improvement has been slow and painful. Mukesh Yadav, SDMC spokesperson, claimed that 89% of its schools now had pucca structures. But 65 schools in south Delhi and 140 in the east don't even have water connections. No wonder, Mukesh Goyal, leader of the Opposition in the north corporation, protested, “In 2015-16 and 2016-17, Rs 20.35 crore was allocated for the purchase of desks, but no money was spent for the purpose in both the years.“

In the north corporation, Mamata Nagpal, chairman of the education committee, said staff shortage was a prime problem. At one point, half the schools there did not have prin cipals. Despite some effort, over 100 still don't have heads.Absolving the civic body of any responsibility , she argued, “We are ready to fill these vacancies too, but Delhi government and Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board need to bring in more manpower.“

Posts of clerical staff, guards and sweepers too are vacant. And, added a north corporation official, “We have a shortage of administrative officers too. Entire north Delhi currently has just around three school inspectors. Directors, whose job it is to formulate policy, keep getting transferred every two months due to political interference.“

An EDMC official also alleged that political recommendations keep piling up in the corporation schools through the year, while in government schools, transfers are effected only in the two months when institutional activity is at a minimum. Such transfers have created teacher numbers disproportionate to students in many schools.

Money , of course, is a big reason why corners are cut. For instance, in the financially stressed east corporation, allocation for education has dropped by Rs 20 crore since 2012.And as usual, the municipal bodies blame the state government for their dismal performance. “We are supposed to get 100% grant-in-aid for schools, but the government, including the earlier Congress one, has reduced the figure to just 58%,“ an official claimed.

2017-18: Govt schools ‘left out’ 66% of failed students

Shradha Chettri, February 1, 2019: The Times of India

In 2017-18, Govt schools in Delhi ‘left out’ 66% of failed students
From: Shradha Chettri, February 1, 2019: The Times of India

Sixty-six per cent of students in classes IX to XII of Delhi government schools who failed in 2017-18 have now gone out of the formal schooling system. Out of a total of 1,55,436 students who failed, only 52,582 were readmitted in the same class, official documents reveal.

Most of these students had failed in classes X and XII. In class X, 42,503 students could not clear the examination in 2017-18, out of which only 3,812 were readmitted. So, 91% of the students probably went out of the schooling system. In class XII, out of 10,566 students who failed, only 943 were readmitted, indicating that another 91% may have dropped out of the school system.


Students who fail not denied re-entry: DoE

Similarly in class IX, out of a total of 73,561 students who failed, 35,534 were readmitted and in Class XI, out of 28,806 who failed, 12,293 were readmitted.

Last year, Justice for All, an NGO working in the right to education space, had filed a petition after class X students, who had failed, were being denied readmission in the schools. The Delhi high court had in August 2018 directed Delhi government to re-admit these students.

“Despite the high court order, a large number of students failed to get admission and now they are out of the school system. It is a very easy process, the school just has to put the names of these students in the register. But the government has complicated the system. This is because they want to push these students out of the school so that they can show better results,” said lawyer Ashok Agarwal of Justice for All.

The readmission data is in an affidavit submitted in the Delhi high court by the Directorate of Education (DoE).

According to the Delhi school education rules, if a student who has failed approaches the same school for readmission, the student has to be re-admitted and admission cannot be denied.

Sanjay Goel, director at the Directorate of Education, said students who have failed and want to join back in school are not denied admission.

“For class IX, those who fail and want to save a year, we give them an option to go to the National Institute of Open Schooling or continue in class IX at the school. Those who fail more than twice have to obligatorily join the NIOS system. But for other classes, whichever child comes back, he/she is readmitted in the same class,” said Goel.

However, educationists say the percentage of failed students being readmitted is extremely low and shows that a number of students are being pushed out of school system.

“What happened to the rest who failed and were not readmitted? It’s a matter of concern that such small number of students are being taken back. It seems this is because the schools want to show good results in the boards. Now, the state government is sending students to NIOS. Earlier, they had sent a large chunk to the CBSE’s correspondence section. But there, the poor performance was showing in the board results. By sending these students to NIOS, they become invisible,” said Anita Rampal, professor of elementary and social education at Delhi University.

General guidelines

Commercial activities (sale of books, uniforms) banned

HC: Enforce ban on sale of books, uniforms on campus, May 3, 2017: The Times of India

Disposes Of PIL Highlighting Commercial Activities In Schools

The Delhi high court directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to strictly enforce its latest rule prohibiting schools affiliated to it from commercial activity , including sale of books or uniforms on the campus.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra disposed of a PIL raising the issue after taking note of a recent circular brought out by CBSE asking schools not to indulge in commercial activity wit hin campus. “We are disposing of the writ petition with direction to the CBSE to ensure that its circular is strictly implemented by the institutions,“ the bench said after the board apprised it of the steps taken by it.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by social worker Sunil Pokhriyal seeking direction to restrain the schools from using their buildings to run commercial activities such as selling books and uniforms. Despite opposition from CBSE, the court had entertained the PIL saying the issue highlighted “is in public interest, especially for school-going children and their parents.“

On April 19, the board had issued a circular following complaints from parents and stakeholders that schools are indulging in commercial activities by way of selling books and uniforms from school premises or through selected vendors. The petition, filed on March 3, had urged the court to enforce CBSE's first circular on the issue -brought out on February 21, 2011 -which warned schools across India not to use their premises for any commercial activity like sale of books, uniforms or stationery on their campuses.

The petitioner submitted that the board has given parents a free hand to purchase these items from the open market at a competitive price, but the public schools force them to purchase it from shops inside schools. It alleged that these shops are being run by people known to the school management and the institutions make “willful gain“ from these businesses. “ A pair of shoes, which is available for around Rs 500 in the market, costs Rs 1,200-1,500 at a school's store,“ the plea added.

2017: Upper age limit for entry-level classes in private schools

Krittika Sharma, Upper age limits for entry-level classes, December 6, 2017: The Times of India


The nursery guidelines this year are going to be slightly tweaked. There will be an upper age limit for entry-level classes in private schools.

That means a child aged between three and four years would be eligible for nursery, between four and five years for KG, and between five and six years for Class I.

In December 2015, the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education had imposed an upper age limit on the recommendations of an expert committee. The high court had stayed it in February last year. NGO Social Jurist had then filed an appeal in the matter, following which an HC bench had upheld the upper age limit.

The NGO’s Khagesh Jha said the October 30 decision was made, as mentioned in the order, by relying on the judgment of the expert committee that had fixed the 2015 guidelines.

“But this expert committee is also expert in a certain class of people. They have little idea about what happens in the other sections of the society where parents don’t send their children to school until they are as old as five,” he said, He was talking about many EWS families where children start their education late.

But EWS/DG children have been given a two-year breather under the October 30 order—between three and five years for nursery, between four and six years for KG, and between five and seven years for Class I, wherever these classes are at the entry level.

Calling this upper age limit “absolutely ridiculous”, Ashok Agarwal, lawyer and president of All India Parents’ Association, questioned why there was a discrimination between the general category students and EWS ones.

“Students admitted under the EWS category have a two-year relaxation, but the those admitted under general category have just one year. Why make this discrimination? A child is a child, irrespective,” he said.

According to principals, this age gap also influences a child’s abilities in a class. Ashok Pandey, principal of Ahlcon International School, said even children with an age gap of two years in the same class have different physical and cognitive abilities.

“Imagine an 18-year-old sitting in Class 11 or 12. The difference between the older kid and his peers is vast. Plus, they lose out when sitting for competitive exams that have age limits,” said Pandey.

He said it is but logical for a child of a certain age to be in a certain class. “The age for Class 1 is fixed at five years, which means he/she must be in nursery by 3+ years and preparatory by 4+ years. Logically, there is no aberration in the set age limits,” Pandey said.

Even for children in nursery class, an age gap can make a difference in how fast they grasp, according to Tania Joshi of Indian School. “In nursery, we teach children how to build blocks or catch a ball. But a five-year-old child learns the same thing much faster because motor skills are better developed. They come at an advantage because of their age, but what is the fault of the younger child to be left behind?” said Joshi.

Jha plans to take the matter forward, “but without deterring the current cycle of admission”.

“We want to go to Supreme Court eventually on the issue, but no timeline has been set on it till now. We have been deliberately delaying any action on this to keep a check on the panic such matters can create among parents,” he said.

Girl students

40% in govt schools stay home during periods/ 2016

DurgeshNandan Jha, Cycle of bad hygiene: Why 40% of girls in govt schools stay home during periods, September 19, 2018: The Times of India

In a city like Delhi, which claims to have the best infrastructure in the education sector in the country, a survey has revealed that 40% of the girls stay away from school during menstruation for reasons such as unavailability of private place to manage periods, lack of running water supply, absence of disposal system for pads/clothes and lack of bathroom for girls.

The survey, conducted in 2016 by Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (HIMSAR), is based on the responses of 600 girls studying at six randomly selected government schools in southeast Delhi and its findings have been published in the latest issue of Journal of Family and Community Medicine (JFCM).

Poor menstrual hygiene is often associated with serious illnesses, including urinary tract infections. The study shows that out of the six schools, one school had no separate toilet for girls, and, at 65%, it recorded the highest percentage of absenteeism during menstruation. Another school, which had only a few separate toilets, had 51% absenteeism among the girls. In the remaining four schools, where there were separate toilets for girls, the count was 40%, 31%, 26% and 24%.

Many girls in all six schools, however, complained that the toilets did not have regular water supply, forcing them to stay at home during menstruation.

During focus group discussions, held by the researchers to understand the issue better, the girls indicated that they felt awkward to use toilet facilities without good-quality sanitary supplies during these days. The girls identified lack of soap, clean toilets, clean water, privacy and sanitary supplies as the main challenges at school, states the study. One of the students said, “In school, there is nothing i.e, there is no proper toilet, no water to drink and wash, no soap, no facility to dispose of the soiled sanitary towels and no private area for girls to change their underwear or sanitary napkins and manage their hygiene.”

Aditi Vashisht, the study’s lead author who works at HIMSAR, told TOI there was an urgent need to improve the basic facilities to cut down absenteeism. “In our study, we found many girls were missing tests during menstruation, which affected their academic performance,” she said.

Maintaining a code of silence on matters related to menstruation, the authors found, was the main challenge the girls faced since they felt rather awkward about asking teachers or friends for assistance, especially when there were boys around.

Often, the girls would tell their friends to inform the teacher, ‘my friend is sick’, and then they would either be sent home or would remain and sit quietly in class until everyone had left, often enduring painful menstruation cramps, the girls told researchers during discussions.

Many girls also said they weren’t allowed by parents to go to school during menstruation, citing traditions. “Many schools did not have regular counselling sessions for girls on menstruation and other health issues. This has to change,” said Dr Rambha Pathak, head of the community medicine department at HIMSAR and a coauthor of the study.

“Those belonging to lower strata of the society aren’t very confident talking to parents about such issues but teachers can guide them and help redress the concerns with relation to menstruation,” Pathak pointed out.

Municipal schools

2011-17: Dropout rate, learning outcomes

85,000 students dropped out in 2016-17, December 15, 2017: The Times of India

Statistics-enrolments in state government schools, mcd schools, 2013-14 to 2016-17
From: 85,000 students dropped out in 2016-17, December 15, 2017: The Times of India
Statistics-dropouts, SDMC, NDMC and state government schools, 2016-17
From: 85,000 students dropped out in 2016-17, December 15, 2017: The Times of India
Statistics-Learning outcomes and dropouts of government schools, 2013-14 and 2016-17
From: 85,000 students dropped out in 2016-17, December 15, 2017: The Times of India
How serious are our elected representatives regarding education, April 2015 to March 2016
From: 85,000 students dropped out in 2016-17, December 15, 2017: The Times of India
Statistics-quality, comparative pass percentage in X and XII board examinations, 2011-17
From: 85,000 students dropped out in 2016-17, December 15, 2017: The Times of India
Statistics-Allocation and expenditure, per capita cost (per student) in actual rupees, NDMC, EDMC, SDMC, state schools- 2016-17 and 2017-18
From: 85,000 students dropped out in 2016-17, December 15, 2017: The Times of India

See graphics:

1. Statistics-enrolments in state government schools, mcd schools, 2013-14 to 2016-17

2. Statistics-dropouts, SDMC, NDMC and state government schools, 2016-17

3. Statistics-Learning outcomes and dropouts of government schools, 2013-14 and 2016-17

4. How serious are our elected representatives regarding education, April 2015 to March 2016

5. Statistics-quality, comparative pass percentage in X and XII board examinations, 2011-17

6. Statistics-Allocation and expenditure, per capita cost (per student) in actual rupees, NDMC, EDMC, SDMC, state schools- 2016-17 and 2017-18


Praja Report On State Of Govt, Municipal Schools Finds Enrolment Declined 7% In 2016-17

Over 85,000 students from municipal and government institutions dropped out of the school system in the 2016-17 academic session. This and other revelations were contained in NGO Praja Foundation’s annual report on the state of education in the capital. Citing data collected through Right to Information applications, the report disclosed a 7% fall in enrolment in municipal and state government schools since last year and a 30% drop in the entry-level Class I since 2010-11.

Given the numbers, Praja questioned the concern of elected representatives about education because 25 MLAs and 147 councillors did not raise a single issue on the subject in their respective legislative bodies throughout the year.

The study, which has been divided into seven parts dealing with enrolment, dropout, quality of education (based on Class X and XII board exam pass percentage), learning outcomes, expenditure, household survey and deliberations, also pointed out that 44% of Class IX students in 2013-14 didn’t reach Class XII in 2016-17, while 43% of the Class IX students of the 2015-16 batch didn’t graduate to Class X in 2016-17.

Municipal schools appeared to show a continuous decline in enrolment in the past three years, though the schools run by Delhi government bucked the trend with a 1% point increase. The decline reflected the findings of the household survey, where 58% of the parents sending their kids to corporation schools expressed unhappiness about the quality of education and 47% of parents of government school students similarly being unsatisfied with the quality of education.

Anjan Ghosh, senior vicepresident of Hansa Research, to whom Praja Foundation had commissioned the household survey, said, “An alarmingly high percentage (85%) of students taking private tuitions belong to municipal schools and 74% to state government schools. This could be in correlation with the percentage of parents (29%) not being happy with their children’s school as the primary factor.”

In all 85,412 students from the municipal and government schools were reported to have left school in 2016-17. Anjali Srivastava, assistant programme manager, Praja, said, “In the pre-Right to Education days if a student stopped coming to schools, the name was struck off the register. However, now a student has to get a transfer certificate in order to get admission elsewhere. The 85,000 dropouts are cases where the students have gone missing from the schools without either having taken transfer certificates. They are still marked ‘absent’ in the school records as their names cannot be struck off the rolls under the provisions of the RTE Act.”

The entry-level enrolment doesn’t present a rosy picture either, with the numbers dipping from 1,92,820 in 2010-11 to 1,35,491in 2016-17. While conjecturing that the dearth of resources with the municipal corporations could be to blame, Nitai Mehta, founder of Praja Foundation, said: “In terms of the infrastructure, teacher quality and budget allocation, there seems to be no constraint. The corporations fare well on the student:teacher ratio, the quality of teacher is above average and the budget estimate of the state government is Rs 49,740 per child.”

Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja, said, “The government gives out data that makes it look good, but when you dig deeper, you can detect major issues in the education department. Unless the government acknowledges these issues, it will be difficult to bring about any required change or improvement in the education department. These issues need to be addressed and acted upon soon. The future of the children in Delhi is at stake.”

2016: Poor standards

Subodh Varma, How municipal schools are failing city's children, April 22, 2017: The Times of India

The three municipal corporations of Delhi have the responsibility of educating nearly 8.2 lakh children in the primary section, from Class I to V . Given the ever increasing fees in private schools, the municipal schools have a crucial significance. But a report, based on data collected by Praja Foundation through RTI applications, found the enrollment has dropped 27% in the past five years, the dropout rate is at a high 12%, and the pupil-teacher ratio is much higher than the prescribed 1 teacher per 40 students. Supportive programmes like mid-day meals are deficient, school libraries are poor, sports facilities are lacking and a majori ty of students need to supplement school lessons with private tuition.

The report released in December 2016 said the East Delhi Municipal Corporation appeared to be the worst affected, with dropout rates touching 18%, he pupil teacher ratio at 42:1, utilisation of allocated funds under various heads very low, and nil expenditure on mid-day meals and libraries in 2015-16. EDMC had the lowest per student spend among all three corporations.

The south corporation recorded the lowest dropout figures and a better pupil-teacher ratio, but its utilization of Plan allocations was just 67%, even if its spending under non-Plan heads was much higher.

Clearly , a combination of factors -finances, utilization planning (or academic expertise) and political leadership --play a role in this dismal trend. One worrying fallout of this drop in municipal education quality is that families are opting out of the affordable municipal schools and entering the costlier private-education system. Many families are likely to pull out their children at some stage of schooling, and perhaps the axe will fall on the girl child.

Electioneering for the municipal corporations has come to a close. Now the fate of schoolchildren is in the hands of an electorate that has been given wild promises on education by the three main political contenders.

Quality of teaching; private tuitions

Krittika Sharma, Over 60% rely on tuition, many go to teachers of own school, December 15, 2017: The Times of India


As per data on the state of education in Delhi released by Praja Foundation, a majority of students from both corporation and government schools have to rely on tuitions, indicating dissatisfaction among parents of the quality of education being provided in these schools. Other pain points for parents have also been listed in Praja’s report based on a household survey.

The report showed that 61% of the parents with children studying in Delhi government schools and 63% of those with kids in the municipal corporation schools availed of extra tuition for their wards. The figures showed that 74% of government school students and 85% of corporation school students went for extra classes conducted largely by private tutors. However, the quality of education in “other” schools — government- and corporation-aided institutions, Kendriya Vidyalayas and private schools — wasn’t any more satisfactory for parents. According to the survey, 71% parents with children in “other” schools also enrolled their children in private tuition classes.

Interestingly, an appreciable number of government students go to their own school teachers for tuition classes, ironically signifying that parents may not necessarily be dissatisfied with the school teachers. Such an arrangement with school teachers existed for 18% for government school students and 19% for students of “other” schools.

Overall, 76% of the parents of most government school students seemed “happy” with the institutions. Likewise, around 71% of the respondents in the survey expressed happiness with the corporation schools.

Yet, the remaining lot of disgruntled parents cited facilities, teachers, scope and distance from home as reasons for dissatisfaction. The survey said that 55% of government school parents were unhappy with the facilities in the institutions compared with 25% dissatisfied corporation school parents. While 47% government school parents and 31% corporation school parents thought the future of their children were limited, 30% of the former and 33% of the latter complained about the capability of teachers.

The survey, however, had a baffling entry when it mentioned that “school fees” was a big reason for unhappiness among parents who send their children to corporation and government schools. Both categories of schools, in fact, provide free education. “The team that conducted the survey said the money being spent on school projects etc has been termed as school fees in the report,” explained Anjali Srivastava, assistant programme manager, Praja Foundation.

Number of students

2017

Krittika Sharma, Pvt schools cater to 40% of students, March 20, 2018: The Times of India


The share of private schools in the city’s school education system has been on the rise in the last four years, touching nearly 40% in 2016-17, having logged an increase of nearly 10% between 2014-15 and 2016-17. However, correspondingly, enrolment in Delhi government schools fell in the three financial years, giving rise to questions about the efficacy of government strategies to improve its schools. The Economic Survey, released on Monday, however, noted that Delhi government spent nearly Rs 6,712 extra on each student in the past year.

According to the Economic Survey of Delhi 2016-17, the government increased its annual per student expenditure from Rs 54,910 to Rs 61,622 last year — an all-time high between April 2014 and March 2017 — as it focused on infrastructure and amenities in schools.

However, enrolment remained at the lower end of the spectrum compared with corresponding figures in the preceding fiscals. Enrolment was 16.1 lakh in 2013-14, fell to 15.1lakh in 2015-16 and recovered marginally to 15.3 lakh in 2016-17.

The survey also revealed that there exist schools in the capital that do not have basic necessities like electricity and playgrounds. More than 12% of the city’s schools do not have playgrounds, in clear violation of the Right to Education Act that makes it mandatory for every school to do so. The reach of electricity has also not reached every school, with at least 0.1% of the total lacking a power connection. However, the survey pointed out that every school in the capital had access to toilets — for both girls and boys — and drinking water.

The number of children attending pre-primary and primary schools in Delhi have also decreased though there are more children now than in the past fiscals in middle and secondary schools.

The performance of students in CBSE’s Class X exams was calculated at around 92.4%, lower when compared with the 93.1% across India. The performance of Class V and Class X students in Delhi, according to the National Achievement Survey 2015, was lower than the national average.

Interestingly, only two new universities in Delhi were started in the last seven years despite the need to accommodate a high number of students clearing the Class XII exams. The maximum increase in the number of colleges was five in the past year alone for professional education. On the other hand, 10 new technical institutes opened in Delhi after 2011, and enrolment in these institutes increased 54% since then.

Of the students enrolled in institutions of higher education in Delhi, women comprised 48%, better than the national average of 46.3%.

Nursery admissions: Guidelines

The Times of India, Dec 10 2015

Guidelines for admission to nursery schools in Delhi, as in 2015; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Dec 10 2015

No clarity on rent deeds as proof

The directorate of education's failure in including rent agreements as valid document for residence proof has led to confusion among parents. A large number of parents, whose children will be vying for nursery seats, stay on rent and they have been left wondering whether the documents would be acceptable. “We generally accept rent agreement or a bank account passbook with the address on it as residence proof. We are quite flexible in this regard,“ said Tania Joshi, principal, The Indian School. In the past, the DoE suggested the documents.

“I live in a rented house and have gas connection and rent agreement documents.But will they be accepted as valid address proof ?“ asked a parent on admissionsnursery com. The website owner, Sumit Vohra, said about a quarter of his users live on rent.

“Not all schools accept the rent deed as proof. As per convention, registered rent deeds that are six months old should be added to the list of valid documents,“ he said. Many parents choose to move to ar eas rich in schools so they have more options for admitting their wards.

On the draw of lots, the guidelines say it “shall be conducted in a transparent manner, preferably in presence of parents.“ Vohra points out that in past years presence of parents or videography was mandatory . Making this optional gives schools permission to not allow parents during the draw. The debate on upper age limit has been on for years. There will be confusion on this too as some schools include age in their criteria and allot points to it.

The guidelines are for general category and private unaided schools. Though the circular doesn't specify this, the DoE has clarified that it will be applicable to minority institutions as well.

The decision on economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups has been welcomed by schools, though lawyer-activist Khagesh Jha maintains it is discriminatory .“Let the government handle it. Especially after last year, I don't want any problems,“ Joshi said. Delhi Police had cracked down on fake EWS admissions last year and even arrested a school principal.

Admission to nursery schools in Delhi: The issues, 2013-Jan 2016; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India Jan 8 2016

February 2016

HC restores management quota

The Times of India, Feb 05 2016

Management quota back as HC stays AAP govt's decision  The Delhi high court stay ed the AAP government's decision to scrap management quota in nursery admissions on Thursday , calling it a balancing act “whereby discretion of private unaided schools was minimised, but not altogether abolished“. The court said the government's circular staying the quota was “without any authority“ and in conflict with a 2007 order by the LG. The high court's interim order, unless superseded by a larger bench or Supreme Court, is likely to govern nursery admissions this year, reports Abhinav Garg.

In a partial relief, the court endorsed the city government's elimination of 51 of 62 admission criteria, saying “there's nothing in the (remaining) 11 criteria which would show that they are unreasonable...(andor) can lead to maladministration“.

HC stays nursery order to scrap management quota

The Times of India, Feb 05 2016

Delhi High Court on the management quota in nursery admissions, January-February 2016 ; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Feb 05 2016

Abhinav Garg

Says crucial to maintain school autonomy, but okays govt decision to cancel 51 of 62 criteria

The Delhi high court stayed the AAP government's decision to scrap the management quota in nursery admissions. Justice Manmohan said the Delhi government's circular was “without any authority“ and in conflict with a 2007 order issued by the LG. “A balancing act was done by the Ganguly Committee and the government whereby discretion of private unaided schools was minimised, but not altogether abolished,“ Justice Manmohan said, adding that the quota had been recommended by the Ganguly panel and approved by the government in 2007.

There was some consolation for the government as the court endorsed the striking down of 51 of the 62 admission criteria; but 11were retained as the schools pleaded these were necessary to maintain autonomy and discretion. These include proven track record of parents, extra marks for skills in music or sports, empirical achievements and the gender of a child.

The court accepted these on the ground that “there is nothing in the 11criteria which would show that they are unre asonable or based on whims and fancies and or they can lead to maladministration“.

The court pointed out that the 2007 order permitted management quota up to 20% and it cannot be overturned. It said “promoters of a school who make investment at their own personal risk are entitled to full autonomy in administration, including the right to admit students“ as long as they don't misuse it. The court also highlighted the failure of the AAP government to get approval from the LG before issuing the circular.It reminded the government that under the rules, only the LG has the authority to issue guidelines.

The interim order came on the pleas filed by Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education for All, challenging the abolition of the management quota and other criteria by the government.

Differing with the state government, the court said, “Taking into account the parentage of the child may be relevant in certain circumstances, for instance, if the father of the child was a recipient of a gallantry award or a sports award or had given valuable advice and service to the school like a doctor, then giving preferen ce to such a ward in admission would not constitute maladministration. In all probability , such parents would contribute to the growth and evolution of the school as well as its students.“

The court also said that even the EWS category is based on the parentage of a child.

The court recalled the fate of an earlier attempt in 2013 to abolish the management quota and pointed out that the LG's order was quashed by court.

2016: Can't fix upper age limit: HC

The Times of India, Feb 06 2016

Abhinav Garg 

Directs DoE To Accept Nursery Applications Till February 9, 2016

Governments can't spring surprises on parents or children in education, which is a Fundamental Right, the Delhi high court said, staying another nursery admission circular of Delhi government. A day after staying the government's decision to scrap the management quota, Justice Manmohan allowed children above the age of four to apply for admissions in pre-school or nursery classes in private schools. The court has told DoE to ensure schools accept application till 4pm of February 9.

The court, however, stopped short of commenting on the absence of LG's sanction for the age criteria after the government submitted that it had not addressed the court on this point. HC then asked the director of education to ensure that EWS applications are also accepted online, and posted the case for further hearing where it will take up other legal issues connected to the circular.

The bench said there was no upper age limit before December 18, 2014, for years and the cap had surprised many parents, who would have planned for the admission of their children if they had known it earlier.

The court also acknowledged that it becomes diffi cult for children to get admission in higher classes if they have not studied in the same school earlier since institutions prefer to promote their own students.

HC's order came on a number of petitions filed by minors or their parents, challenging the Delhi government's notification fixing the maximum age for nursery in private unaided schools at four years. Advocates Ashok Aggarwal and Rishi Manchanda appeared for some of the petitioners.

2018: Govt. norms for nursery, KG, Class I in Sarvodaya Vidyalayas

Krittika Sharma, Nursery norms for govt schools out, February 27, 2018: The Times of India


Application Forms To Be Available After Holi

Admission to nursery, KG and Class I in Sarvodaya Vidyalayas (SV) have been notified by Delhi government and forms will be available from March 3 to

17. However, in case seats remain vacant, admissions will remain open throughout the year.

Applicants living in close vicinity (1km) of the school will be preferred for admission, but those in a 3km-radius will also be accepted.

“If the number of applicants is not adequate, then children residing beyond 3km can be enrolled,” reads a circular released by the directorate of education (DoE) on Monday.

The nursery classes will begin from April 2.

The DoE circular mentions that applicants will have to be at least three years of age and below four years to be admitted to nursery, 4-5 years for KG and 5-6 years for Class I.

A similar upper age limit will be applied to nursery classes of private recognised schools starting the 2018-19 academic session. Currently, there is no age bar.

“Older children have to be given admission in age appropriate classes,” the circular adds.

Selection of candidates will be done through a draw of lots. However, if the number of applicants does not exceed the number of seats, then no draw of lots will be conducted.

The forms will be available free of cost on the DoE website as well as the school gates. Students who are unable to furnish essential documents at the time of admission will be given 30 days provisional admission on the basis of an undertaking on plain paper by the parents/guardians.

Details of such children will have to be furnished to Cluster Resource Coordinators (CRCs).

The government has reserved 27.5% seats for SC/ ST/handicapped/DoE employee wards.

“In case there are no reserved category candidates, the vacant seats will be given to others on the waiting list,” the circular reads.

Last year, Delhi government had announced the plan to start its own nursery classes in its 442 Sarvodaya schools, even where KG classes were in progress. Each SV will have 1-2 sections of 40 students each in nursery, KG and Class I.

Performance of schools

2011-16

The Times of India, December 16, 2016

Public school education in Delhi, School enrolment, 2013-16; Dropouts in municipal and state government schools, 2014-16; Enrolment in state government schools, 2013-16; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, December 16, 2016

Schools battle mass failure in Class IX, XI


In its first annual report on public school education in Delhi, the Praja Foundation says what the Delhi government has long acknowledged and has been working on--there's mass failure in Class IX. The report, released by the NGO, also signals other concerns in all classes--high levels of absenteeism (especially in municipal schools), drop in enrolment figures at primary level despite the Right to Education Act, and the presence of shadow education in the form of private coaching.

According to the report, while all corporation and state government schools have witnessed a high dropout rate in 2014-15 and 2015-16, the east corporation tops the list at 16.3% and 17.7%, respectively. The figure for government schools is 2.9% and 3.1%. The rate of absenteeism is very high in municipal schools. In some districts and subjects, nearly one-fifth of a class was absent at least for a month during a school year.

“The drop in enrolment figures could be due to the linkage with Aadhaar, which has eliminated a lot of duplication. Earlier, children would leave and enrol elsewhere,“ said Saumya Gupta, director, education. Some of the attrition in lower classes, she said, could also be due to efforts to implement the 25% quota for EWS and disadvantaged children.

Explaining the highest dropout rate, Jitender Chaudhary , standing committee chairman of the east corporation, said, “Parents want to send their children to English-medium schools but we don't have many . Many students also come from EWS section and these kids often have to work to stabilise their family's income. We will take steps to fix it.“

The report stated that from 2011 to 2013, government school students performed slightly better than their private school counterparts.“However, in the past three years, they are gradually falling behind.“ The Class X pass percentage in 2015-16 was 95.43% in private schools, while it was 89.25% in the state schools. The report also raised concerns about a significant number of students being held back in classes IX and XI. In government schools, 45.08% of the Class IX students didn't qualify for Class X in 2015-16. For Class XI, the number stood at 34.6%. Gupta said the govern ment's Chunauti programme and a fresh opportunity to kids who have failed Class IX more than twice might “make a huge dent in the dropout rate after Class IX“.

2016: Delhi vs. the national average

The Times of India, Apr 12 2016

School education, Delhi vs the national average, subject and class-wise; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Apr 12 2016

Manash Gohain  However, Class V Students Do Better Than National Average

The performan ce of Class III students in Delhi is lower than the national average in languages and significantly lower in mathematics. However, the trend is bucked in Class V , where student performance is much higher than the national average. Unfortunately , this achievement is not sustained, with performance in mathematics in Classes VIII and X plunging below the national benchmark. These were revealed by the National Achievement Surveys (NAS) conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

Explaining this dismal graph for mathematics, a teacher in a Delhi government school explained, “Up to Class V , mathematics essentially means counting and a bit of fractions. But students find it hard to cope with integers introduced in Class VI because teachers themselves face problems with the subject.“

At the Class VIII level, the worrisome performance comes in mathematics, science and social sciences, where Delhi's student fell below the national average. Ashok Pandey , principal of Ahlcon International School at Mayur Vihar, attributed this to a “mismatch in the syllabi of the various stages from primary classes to middle school, and from high school to senior secondary“.

“Syllabus development has to progress logically else it causes gaps at various levels,“ said Pandey , and pointed out how while primary classes had no separate science subject besides environmental science, from Class VI onwards, the degree of difficulty for students became sharply high with the separation of the subject into science and social science.

“The teacher's ability to teach shows in the learning ability of the child, especially in Class VI where a lot of new concepts are introduced,“ added Anuradha Joshi, principal of Sardar Patel Vidyalaya.

CBSE Class X results: Delhi, 2015-18

Krittika Sharma, Boards give govt schools a reality check, May 30, 2018: The Times of India

The performance of students from Delhi in the CBSE Class X exams, 2015-18
From: Krittika Sharma, Boards give govt schools a reality check, May 30, 2018: The Times of India

TASK CUT OUT: Class X Pass Percentage Dips To 69.3 From 92.4 in 2017

The Class X pass percentage in Delhi government schools has dropped to 69.3 from 92.4 lin 2017 indicating a drastic decline after the Central Board of Secondary Education reverted to board-conducted examinations following an eight-year gap. Though Delhi government had adopted numerous methods to ensure that its students fared well in the dreaded exams, it is clear that the directorate of education has its work cut out in the coming academic session.

According to CBSE data for Delhi, the government and government-aided schools had the worst results in the capital, with a pass percentage of 69.3 for the former and 69.9 for the latter. Last year, education minister and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had claimed in a series of tweets that the 2017 pass percentage had risen to 92.4, an improvement of 3.2 over 2016.

In comparison, central government schools did commendably well, with Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas logging a success rate of 98.6% and the Kendriya Vidyalayas, 97.1%.

Sources said that at a government boys’ school in Shalimar Bagh, only 45 of the 138 students passed, a pass rate of 31.5%. Another in Qadipur recorded just 53.12%, down from 99.7% in 2017, with 110 students getting a compartment result. A Sarvodaya School in Vijay Nagar also logged a pass percentage of 39, with 26 students of the 61 getting a compartment. At a girls’ school in Jahangirpuri, the pass percentage fell from 88 in 2017 to 29.9 this year.

Sisodia nevertheless congratulated his teachers and education department for boosting the success percentage from 30 in pre-board exams to 69 in the main exams. “Would specially like to congratulate teachers and principals of govt schools… Great work by the whole Team Education,” Sisodia tweeted.

The minister also conceded that the going was tough for students with the board exams making a return after a long gap. “Many congratulations to all students who have passed the Class X CBSE Board exams. It was a tough year for all students as board exams were happening for the first time after 10 years,” he said on Twitter.

The results seemed to have been foreseen in the preboard exams in the Delhi government schools. The 991secondary schools run by Delhi government had logged an average pass percentage of 31.5, with some schools going as low as 26 a month before the main exams. An alarmed Sisodia had asked the education directorate to act against teachers and principals of schools with low pass percentages, saying “there cannot be any justifiable reason for the schools being unable to support the learning of its students to the extent that not even 10 children are able to secure the minimum pass marks in each subject”.

In comparison, the capital’s private schools fared much better with a success rate of 89.5%. Among the eight Amity Schools in in Delhi and NCR, 826 students out of 1,659 obtained over 90% aggregates, with the highest earned by students of Amity Noida. Delhi Public School, RK Puram, also recorded a high pass percentage of 99.

Manav Rachna International School in Noida had a top aggregate of 96.4%, and all the students cleared the exams. Mount Abu School had a similar pass figure, with 10 of its 135 students scoring 100%. Manav Sthali School in Rajendra Nagar had 138 of its 443 students earning a distinction in all five subjects. While the top aggregate percentage at Ahlcon International was 97.4, Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, had 98.2 and The Indian School, 98.2.

Right to Education Act

2010-17: low compliance with RTE

Krittika Sharma, 7% of seats for poor in private schools go empty, February 9, 2018: The Times of India


See graphic:

Delhi schools’ compliance with RTE, 2010-17

Delhi schools’ compliance with RTE, 2010-17
From: February 9, 2018: The Times of India


Disinterest among schools, perceived discrimination between EWS and general category students, and lack of support from the government have contributed to low compliance to the provisions of the Right to Education Act, under which 25% seats in all private schools must be reserved for EWS/disadvantaged group candidates.

The government has also been blamed for not setting up any monitoring committee to follow through after a child is admitted. According to a report released by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, 7% of EWS/DG seats in Delhi private schools have either gone empty, or given to general category students for the last two years.

However, this number has been an improvement from 2010-11, when only 6% seats were filled under the RTE mandate, according to the report. According to Priyank Kunoongo, an NCPCR member who headed the study, the biggest takeaway from the findings is that the government needs to follow up after the admissions are made.

“There is no monitoring mechanism in this respect. After a child is admitted, he needs to be dealt with sensitively, through love and care, to be mainstreamed,” he said.

The child rights body also found schools hesitant in taking in EWS/ DG kids; 13.5% of the principals were against RTE admission. They complained that they were not being reimbursed for additional facilities and were given Rs 600-1,000 per student for stationery, books and uniform. The remaining cost is borne by parent in some cases. In fact, some schools told NCPCR that they had not been paid for the last two years.

NCPCR suggested that when per-child cost is calculated, all expenditures be taken into account, since RTE mandates that total cost of education be borne by the state.

Principals pointed out they were being given fake income and caste certificates and there was no mechanism to validate and authenticate documents. Schools suggested that government evolve a strict mechanism to conduct proper checks. In some instances, said schools, while the online verification had passed income certificates, they were rejected by SDM offices during physical evaluation.

The schools also believed that EWS children were more prone to initiating a fight, hurling abuses or stealing from other children. “Abusive language and misbehaviour by EWS category students was more difficult to solve due to wrong precedent being set in home environment,” some principals told NCPCR. The members were told that EWS kids were slow learners, or had trouble learning English, and, so, lacked focus in class. Their health and hygiene was also a concern.

However, the rights body observed that it was the responsibility of the school to provide a child the right environment, and that the “slow learner” perception was illogical because, at three years, a child “should not be expected to know any other language other than the mother tongue”.

It observed that, contrary to principal observations, general category and EWS kids were found to mingle amicable in 94% of the surveyed schools. “This observation raises an important question. If children don’t discriminate among themselves, then what is the reason that such thoughts float? As it is clear from the view expressed by principals and teachers, lack of training to create opportunities for these children to effectively adjust in the school environment gives rise to such biased views.”

The report observed that schools don’t take the initiative to fill empty seats, while some tried to do so with general category students. “The schools quote absence of proper guidelines from DoE to maintain the ratio till class VIII as a reason for not taking admission after entry class,” the report said.

It found the schools clueless about what to do if a student dropped out of school or didn’t join at all. While the school is supposed to send a notification to DoE stating that the child allotted to them has not joined, this is not done when a child leaves voluntarily.

The report also blames the school for not trying to follow up with the parent after a child drops out of school. The child rights body has suggested that the government EWS/DG kids’ parents be included in PTA, teachers be given better training, NCERT/ SCERT books be strictly prescribed and orientation programmes be held for teachers to help ease students into the mainstream. =

School admission criteria

2017: relative freedom to schools

Most Controversial Criteria Set By Private Unaided Schools Stamped Out, December 25, 2017: The Times of India


i) Criteria that schools can't use;
ii) Criteria that schools can use
From: December 25, 2017: The Times of India

See graphic:

i) Criteria that schools can't use;
ii) Criteria that schools can use


Private schools this time have been largely given the authority to set their own criteria — excluding the 51 abolished by the Delhi high court — for nursery admission.

Last year, most schools had given neighbourhood the maximum points, while several had given girl child and sibling a strong preference during selection of candidates. With the admission guidelines releasing just a few days ago, schools have another week before they are expected to upload the final criteria on the directorate of education website.

In January 2016, the Delhi government had abolished 62 criteria adopted by private recognised unaided schools, including those that allot points for parents being vegetarian, non-smokers or three-year-olds having “similar cultural ethos”. While most of these criteria were abolished by the high court too, when challenged, the schools were allowed to use 11of them.

The other 51 criteria were abolished after the government found most of them to be discriminatory towards the child or unclear in mandate. Several admissions, before this, were being made on arbitrary basis like the structure of family a child comes from; the attitude and values of the child or the family; and whether the parent was running a business or was in service.

The government had reasoned that several of these criteria were unclear, undefined, illogical and likely to be misused. For example, while abolishing the language points—in which the child got two points if he/she could speak, read or write the language—the government had called it “illogical”. “Small children should be on equal footing in every respect as the entry-level class is the starting level of learning,” the department stated. Similarly, the criteria for “scholar students” was shot down because “no scholastic aptitude can be tested at the entry-level classes”.

This year, most schools plan to go by the same criteria they had applied last year. “We have still not decided because we need to study the notification and make need-based changes, if at all,” said Manohar Lal, principal of DPS Mathura Road. Last year, he said, the maximum points were given to neighbourhood, sibling and alumni. Other schools said that while it was too early to comment on what their admission criteria will be, they are planning to make minute changes, if at all, this year.

The private schools have to upload details of criteria and points allotted by December 26. The admission process will start from December 27.

Valid vs. contentious criteria

Krittika Sharma, Points Allotted For Non-Transferable Jobs Of Parents, Mother’s Graduate Status, December 28, 2017: The Times of India

Criteria adopted by different schools in Delhi for admissions, category-wise, December 2017
From: Krittika Sharma, Points Allotted For Non-Transferable Jobs Of Parents, Mother’s Graduate Status, December 28, 2017: The Times of India

Schools risk action over ‘unfair’ criteria

Several schools, including minority ones, have failed to comply with the 51 abolished criteria that have been termed “unfair” by the high court and Delhi government for nursery admissions. Despite several reminders, many schools have sought preference for candidates whose parents are in nontransferable jobs, who have first cousins studying there — that too from a joint family — or if the mother is a graduate and a housewife, among other criteria.

In its circular dated December 19 notifying admission to nursery classes across 1,700 schools in the capital, the directorate of education (DoE) had directed that none of them shall use the abolished criteria.

Lawyers, however, maintained that some schools are justified in allocating points for some of these criteria “that are in tune with the ethos of the minority institution”.

Kamal Gupta, a lawyer who usually represents private schools for Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, gave the example of a Jain minority school. “A Jain school can allocate points to vegetarian, non-smoker and teetotaller parents because their religion endorses it and these are social evils,” he explained.

The government, however, believes that no school, even minority ones, can use the abolished criteria to allocate points. “We will now start sending notices to these schools,” said Atishi Marlena, advisor to education minister Manish Sisodia.

However, data uploaded on the DoE website shows that certain schools, like Guru Harkishan Public School in Nihal Vihar in north Delhi, have allocated points to candidates with graduate mothers who are housewives. This school does not figure in the minority list. The school has also allocated points for “Amritdhari” candidates (10 points) and minority students (10 points).

Similarly, schools like Cosmos Public School (Vasundhara Enclave), New Cosmos Public School (Taimur Nagar), Tagore Public School (Jheel Kuranja), Good Luck Modern School (Prahladpur), Infant Jesus School (Dwarka) have also allocated points to candidates whose parents have transferable jobs. Of these, no school falls in the minority list, except Infant Jesus School.

Another non-minority school, Sachdeva Convent School (Sangam Vihar), has allotted points to candidates if both parents are employed. New Cosmos Public School in Taimur Nagar has also allocated 10 points to candidates who have first cousins studying in the same school. Jagriti Public School in Sangam Vihar will give 10 points to candidates with “siblings, including cousin in the joint family with same address”.

Neo Convent School (Paschim Vihar), a minority school, has allotted points for “regularity in dues”, “sibling performance”, and 20 points for “parents’ reasons for approaching the school”. In fact, the admission form available on the school website has a separate section for a “write-up” on the parents’ reasons for approaching the school.

Science education

2017: 28% of govt schools have science stream

Krittika Sharma, No fiction: Less than a third of govt schools in city have science stream, December 11, 2017: The Times of India


Uneven Distribution Leaves Pockets Where There Are Hardly Any That Offer Subject Of Choice

Less than a third of Delhi government schools provide science stream as an option in senior secondary education — this means that children are forced to either opt for a stream they do not want, or travel long distances to other government schools that do offer science, or move to private schools. In fact, according to data compiled by a lawyer-activist Yusuf Naqi using the directorate of education website and several RTI replies, there are only two schools in central Delhi out of 41 that offer science, testifying to an uneven and insufficient spread.

According to Naqi, who recently filed a plea in Delhi High Court, the three streams — science, commerce and arts — are distributed so unevenly that while certain bordering zones have more science and commerce schools than others, there are “shadow pockets” that don’t have any such schools for several kilometres. For example, he pointed out, in northeast Delhi, zone 4 has 19 schools out 49 that offer science, whereas zone 5 has only 10 schools out of 44 that offer the subject.

Similarly, in the east, zone 3 has 27 schools, with eight offering science; zone 1has only 11 schools out of 26 that offer the subject. “The distribution is so uneven that not everybody has access to subjects of their choice, as a government school must provide. The matter came to my notice after I realised that in the central Delhi area where I stay, there are only two schools that offer science,” Naqi said.

According to his calculations, only 279 schools across Delhi have science — out of 1,029. However, in a response filed by the government in court, the number is pegged at 291: still a lowly 28%. “Not everyone has that kind of money to spend for education in a private school. So, they opt for arts in a government school, instead,” Naqi said.

Delhi government officials, however, said schools offering science stream have come down over the last decade because the number of students meeting the eligibility criteria, too, has fallen. “Not enough kids have been scoring high enough to be given the science stream in schools,” said Atishi Marlena, advisor to education minister Manish Sisodia. She added that to offer science on the senior secondary level, labs need to be made available to students. “We are still working on the infrastructure. Every science lab needs classroom space, and we need at least 2-3 labs in a school when offering science. We have planned to add another 13,000-classroom space in the long term,” she said.

Then, there is the question of administrative viability. “Other than just eligibility, we also have to look at how many students want to take science. It is not viable for us to run a science stream for just 5-6 kids because we need to create labs, equip them and create teacher posts too. We need at least 30-40 students in a school to start a new stream,” said Marlena.

As a science teacher in a government girls senior secondary school in Jama Masjid told TOI, many students from her school — which only offers arts — decide to leave for elsewhere, but end up coming back because finding a seat in a private school is also not easy. “In fact, we tell them that they apply for a transfer certificate only after they secure a seat in another school. Most of the time, they don’t. So, they come back and take arts here because that’s the only option,” she said, on the condition of anonymity as she is not authorised to speak to the media. Marlena pointed out that, as an interim measure, the government is expanding the number of schools offering commerce to give children more career choices. “There has been an increase of 36-40% of schools offering commerce,” she said.

However, going by its response in high court, DoE believes that there are “sufficient number of schools equipped with science and commerce stream”. It also stated that students have “other schools” to go to for their desired stream. “Besides government schools and government aided schools, science and commerce streams are also available in other schools, which could be availed by students as per their choice,” the DoE wrote in its response in November.

It also claimed that streams were allotted to schools “as per the demand”. However, Naqi questioned how the department assessed the demand, if it didn’t make any offer in the first place.

However, the principal of a reputed private school, on the condition of anonymity, clarified that all schools must offer a subject even if there was one student asking for it. “At the end of Class X, we send a form to the parents informing them about the eligibility criteria to join different streams and what subject combinations are offered. When a student makes a request, we assess whether he is eligible for the stream or not,” the principal said, adding that most government schools discourage children from taking science because of fear that non-performing children will bring down the Class XII Board results.

Interestingly, enrolment in science stream in government schools has also been on the rise, as per government data. In the court response, DoE stated that there were 10,405 enrolments in science in 2016 (as on September 8), which increased to 11,715 as on September 8, 2017. However, for the 1,310 increased enrolments, there have been only 15 schools that have started the science stream.

Naqi’s case is set to come up for another hearing in February next year, until when the high court has asked DoE to map schools in its 29 zones by colour-coding those offering commerce, science and arts.

Standard of education

2017: Class III govt school students fall below learning curve

Manash Gohain, Class III govt school students falling below learning curve, January 28, 2018: The Times of India

National Achievement Survey, statistics on language and maths, region-wise, January 2018
From: Manash Gohain, Class III govt school students falling below learning curve, January 28, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

National Achievement Survey, statistics on language and maths, region-wise, January 2018


NCERT Survey Finds South District Schools Worst Performers In Delhi

Almost half the Class III students of government and aided schools in Delhi have been unable to demonstrate that they have learnt their lessons well. This was revealed by the National Achievement Survey (NAS) learning outcome data collated by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). And with the advantaged South finishing bottom of the rung among Delhi’s nine districts, it seems better managed schools with comparatively better infrastructure will not always ensure better learning.

Learning outcome is a description of what a student should know and demonstrate knowledge of at the end of a course. By this token, 47.4% of Class III students showed they had not grasped what they were taught in mathematics, and 42.9% in language. South district proved to have the worst performers in this assessment. In all the three subjects surveyed — mathematics, language and environmental science — the performance of the Class III students of schools in the South was below those of the rest of the districts.

The overall average performance of Delhi students in EVS was 54.07%, though of those who answered questions correctly in the subject, 21.2% scored below 30%. Similarly, for mathematics the overall average performance was 52.56%, while 20.7% scored under 30%.

Significantly, it was not only in overall performance that South lagged. It also had the most students whose learning outcome was below 30%.

While a comparison of Delhi against the national average or with other states was not possible because NCERT is yet to release the state-wise analyses, the capital’s district information clearly hints at a lot of work still to be undertaken by government and aided schools. The best performers were West, New Delhi and East districts. In EVS, West district schools logged the highest learning outcome score of 60.1%, followed by New Delhi and East. In language, West again led with a score of 62.4%, followed by East and New Delhi. In mathematics, New Delhi topped with 58.3% followed by West with 57.1%.

In the range of performance — divided into four groups of 30% and below, 31-50%, 51-75% and above 75% — West had the maximum number of students scoring 75% and above in mathematics and language, while New Delhi had the most getting high marks in EVS. The data also showed that learning outcome among girls was better than among boys. The gap is highest for language learning (58.5% for girls to 55.6% for boys), with the other subjects showing marginal advantage for girls.

The learning outcome of ST and OBC student was also higher than those of SC and general-category students. While the ST students demonstrated better learning in EVS and mathematics, OBCs outperformed their peers in language.

It is for the first time that NCERT has released districtwise NAS data after assessing 2.2 million children in 705 districts. The survey earlier used to be done at the state level. NCERT is yet to release the state-wise analyses, and this story is based on the district data shared by the Union HRD ministry.

NAS uses a representative sample of students and is not an examination, but checks the general health of the education system. The competency-based test questions reflect the learning outcomes that are incorporated in the Right to Education Act to measure competency of the students across India.

2017: Class V govt school students fare worse

Manash Gohain, If Class III was bad, here’s how govt schoolkids fare in Class V, January 31, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

The average performance of Class V students


NCERT Survey Again Finds South District Schools The Worst Performers

While almost half the Class III students of government and aided schools in Delhi have not learnt their lessons well, the situation is worse in Class V. Barring language, the learning levels of the Class V students, reveals National Achievement Survey (NAS), could not even touch the halfway mark.

The learning of mathematics, the data shows, had been as low as 43.4% — 52.6% in Class III— and even among those who could answer correctly, nearly one-third (29.61%) scored below 30% and 35.4% of the students between 30% and 50%. Even in language, the learning level of 51.6% in Class V was lower than that of 57.1% in Class III. In environmental science (EVS), the average performance was 48.4% against 54.1% in Class III.

The survey, conducted across 705 districts — including the nine in Delhi — by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), took 489 schools as samples for deciding the learning outcome of Class V students. Learning outcome is a description of what a student should know and demonstrate knowledge of at the end of a course.

This was the first time that NAS provided districtwise data, which showed that like in Class III, South Delhi district remained at the bottom among the Delhi districts in the three subjects as well as in various sub-categories.

New Delhi recorded the best performance in Class V for EVS and mathematics, while North Delhi was at the top in language.

West Delhi lost the leadership role in Class V, but not by a big margin, and stayed among the top three districts of Delhi.

The girls are definitely concentrating better as they had nearly 2%-point lead over the boys in EVS and mathematics. In language, the gap was the highest — nearly 4% points.

In a reversal of the trend from Class III, rural schools performed better in Class V in all three subjects, and by a significant margin. The gap was 6.2% points in mathematics, 4.8% points in EVS, and 4.5% points in language.

In the range of performance — divided into four groups of 30% and below, 31-50%, 51-75% and above 75% — New Delhi had the maximum number of students scoring 75% and above in mathematics and EVS, while North Delhi is on top in language with 20.79% of its students scoring 75% and above.

See also

Delhi: Higher education

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