February 11, 2016

AAP government takes baby steps to revamp education sector...

A dilapidated building with fans ready to fall off, broken switchboards, and rickety desks and chairs has become synonymous with government-run model schools in Delhi.
Of the at least 957 schools in dire need of attention, only 54 have been selected for infrastructure improvements. However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government says it is working to improve the sorry situation and fulfil its promise made during the election campaign.
A 106% increase in the allocation of funds for education in the last budget should ensure there is no paucity of funds.
“By the end of the year, the model schools would be ready. We have been told that once this set is corrected there would be a trickledown effect and help in improving other schools,” said BK Sharma, principal of Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Lajpat Nagar II.
However, the absence of 500 new schools and 20 new colleges — as promised before a fledgling AAP stormed into power last year — will continue to be a sore spot for the state government.
It is not that the government isn’t working towards it — construction of 25 new schools and 8,000 additional rooms at existing schools has started and is expected to be completed by 2016-17, but the numbers lag behind target.
“In one year, 25 new schools... (are) still being constructed. The government should know that they just have four years left now. Next election is going to depend on fulfilled promises,” said Amar Singh, an auto rickshaw driver.
But the government remains optimistic.
“Improving the infrastructure was necessary but it is not sufficient. Henceforth, focus would be on improving quality — by capacity-building of teachers, competency-based learning, providing onsite support and improving learning levels in children,” said Atishi Marlena, special adviser to the state education minister.
Educationists feel this is not right approach to improve the quality of education.
“I have seen the way learning levels of Class 9 students were tested. By asking basic mathematics questions on division, different levels of children have been decided. Such division is completely undemocratic and discriminatory. Consulting organisations like Teach for India for improving schools is not going to help,” said Anita Rampal, an educationalist.
Another point of contention is the government’s proposal to scrap the no-detention policy — where a student cannot be held back in the same class even if he fails an exam.
Nonetheless, the slew of bills to improve the education sector, including the Fee Regulation Bill and amendment to the Delhi Education Bill to bring transparency to nursery admission, are being touted as “AAP’s education revolution”.
The state is also expected to move forward with its plan to do away with management quota in public schools — after failing with private schools, which moved court and the order was quashed.
The first year in office for the AAP has largely been about transforming primary education in Delhi, but the challenge ahead will be secondary education.
The government successfully launched the Delhi Education Guarantee Scheme — under which loans guaranteed by the state are provided to students for higher education — and will be looking to find a viable way to introduce double-shifts in Delhi University colleges to deal with the increasing number of students.
“Our focus is now also more towards skill development and building a sports university,” said Marlena.

source: www.hindustantimes.com

February 5, 2016

Nursery admissions: AAP Government to challenge HC order



The AAP government on Thursday said an appeal will be filed against the Delhi High Court’s stay of its order scrapping management quota in nursery admissions.
The schools, however, welcomed the court’s decision saying their “autonomy” has been upheld.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed AAP government’s order scrapping management quota in nursery admissions in private unaided schools. The court said the decision was taken without the authority of law.
It also stayed the Delhi government’s 6 January order with regard to 11 other admission criteria. This included issues like proven track record of parents in music and sports during admission of their children, that were also scrapped.
SK Bhattacharya, President of the Action Committee for Unaided Private Schools of which 400 reputed schools are members, said, “We welcome the high court’s order and it will come as a relief for the parents who have been lingering in anxiety as the entire process has been marred by chaos due to the government’s order.”
He said, “Schools did not know what to do, parents did not know whether the process will be delayed or not. So, all the confusion has ended thankfully”.
The government had last month scrapped management quota and all other reservations except the EWS category in private schools for nursery admissions. It also warned that erring institutions can be taken over by the Education Department.
The same Action Committee had also alleged that the government’s announcement amounted to “contempt of court” as the matter was sub-judice at that time. The committee had moved court in 2014 after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had notified the scrapping of quota.

source:www.thequint.com

Nursery admissions: Delhi High Court stays government decision to scrap management quota



The Delhi High Court Thursday issued a stay on the Delhi government’s order to abolish “management quota” in nursery admissions in private unaided schools, while observing that the order was “prima facie without any authority”.

This leaves schools free to create their own admission criteria for this year.

However, the court clarified that the January 6 order of the Directorate of Education (DoE) has not been struck down and merely been stayed till final disposal of the petition.

“Rule 145 of (Delhi School Education) Rules, 1973, states that the head of every recognised unaided school shall regulate admissions in their school. Consequently, it was held that private unaided schools have maximum autonomy in day-to-day administration, including the right to admit students,” said the bench in its order. The bench of Justice Manmohan said the schools had agreed to defend only 11 specific criteria to be adopted under management quota. It also said the DoE could take action if a school was found “misusing” the quota. It added that “prima facie there is nothing in the 11 criteria which would show that they are unreasonable or based on whims and fancies and/or they can lead to maladministration”. The 11 criteria permitted by the bench includes qualification of parents, their proficiency in fields such as sports, music, social work, as well as points for first born child, gender specific points and for adopted children and twins. Commenting on the legality of the office order issued by the DoE, the bench noted that prima facie view indicated it was “in direct conflict” with the order issued by the Lieutenant Governor which had allowed management quota in nursery admissions. “This court is of the prima facie view that Article 239AA(3)(c) of the Constitution of India would be attracted to the present case,” said the bench. It added that management quota had been recommended by the Ganguly Committee — formed by a division bench of the high court — and “accepted and approved by the GNCTD in its 2007 order”. “The same has been implemented from November 24, 2007 to December 18, 2013. Even the office order dated December 18, 2013 issued by the Lt Governor seeking to delete management quota was quashed by judgment dated November 28, 2014,” said the court. It held that “at this stage, deletion of management quota by way of an office order is impermissible in law”. The court again said the opinion given in the judgment was “only a prima facie” one and should not be seen to affect the hearing on the larger legal issue which will now be heard in April
source: indianexpress.com

January 22, 2016

Nursery Admissions: Delhi High Court issues notice to Kejriwal govt....seeks reply from Kejriwal govt over management quota row


With regard to the Delhi High Court's move to issue notice to the government in connection with scrapping of management quota, the association of private schools said that the quota should not be scrapped as schools need to "oblige" people.
"Those people (government) who can't administer a public school are trying to take over admissions of private schools", the HC said reprimanding the AAP government and censured the government for its failure to improve the condition of public schools.
Meanwhile, Delhi government's additional standing counsel Gautam Narayan told the court there cannot be any such quota and "it has to go". Apparently, the government believes that schools have taken advantage of their discretionary powers. "There is rush in private schools because the standard is not good in public schools". When can't you improve public schools? You are taking over private schools. No one is addressing that issue. "Set your house in order".
It clarified that that parents may apply now but the scrutiny of applications would be subject to final orders in the petitions by Forum for Promotion of Quality Education and Action Committee of Unaided Recognized Private Schools. The SC had recognized the right of the private schools to have maximum autonomy in admissions and to set a fee structure.
Private schools had argued that the orders passed by Arvind Kejriwal-led government stating that it is contrary to and violates the judgements of the Supreme Court and High Court and affects the autonomy of private unaided schools to regulate their admissions.
He said the existing provision of 25 percent seats earmarked for students from poor families will remain in place.
"However, respondent no. 4 (Sanskriti) in sheer defiance of the circulars has not uploaded the admission criteria and points for admissions of open seats at entry level classes for the academic session 2016-17", a petition filed by a toddler's father, advocate Dheeraj Singh, has said.
Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung had in December 2013 issued a notification abolishing management quota in nursery admissions but this was challenged by the affected schools.
Earlier, the high court, in an order, had asked the Delhi government not to micro-manage the admission process following which Education Department had allowed the schools to frame their respective criteria and put them on their websites.

source: theindianrepublic.com