Aam Aadmi Party’s strategy in the poll-bound states of Punjab, Gujarat and Goa has been to showcase its work in the education sector of Delhi.
AAP under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal doubled the budgetary allocation for education. Ever since this strategy has been adopted by the party there is a widespread perception that the education sector is being transformed. Is it the multiple full-page advertisements by the Delhi government publicising routine events like parent-teacher meetings or the glowing news reports on summer camps?
But AAP deserves applause for whatever they have done in the education sector— building new schools and classrooms. New schools have come up in different parts of the city. However, they have fallen flat in other areas like administrative reforms, curriculum and teachers.
Take, for instance, the much publicised reform, “Chunauti 2016”, in which students are segregated into groups based on their “basic learning skill”. One group for failed students called Vishwaas, another for likely failures Nishtha, and the “good kids” in Pratibha. Educationists agree that creating this sort of hierarchy among students is discriminatory, damages their psyche and harms the learning environment.
There is a huge shortage of teachers in schools across Delhi. Instead of filling schools with teachers there are many schools filled with large flexes of the Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia smiling benignly alongside an anodyne quote on education.
The last two years have shown that changes in education are political in nature. Education policies cannot be a knee-jerk reaction, as they affect young impressionable minds. Therefore, the need of the hour is an informed and participatory public opinion which bring in change felt in the society and not on newspapers. All of these worries can be allayed with proactive transparency.