For the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government that never had an easy equation with private schools, the good news comes at the right time.
It has made clear its intent to rejuvenate state-run schools with emphasis on quality and affordability; it gets a morale-booster now.
The seriousness of intent can be gauged from the fact that besides taking real steps such as making significant budgetary allocation for education, aimed at revamping the existing infrastructure, including quality of manpower, it has been communicating with the residents of Delhi on a regular basis on the matter.
In a full-page advertisement in newspapers on Tuesday, Delhi’s Education Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the deputy chief minister, congratulates teachers of government schools on the CBSE performance and goes on to warn those who have been habitually callous in their job.
“Without improving government schools, the dream of providing meaningful education to our young generation becomes a distant one…,” the ad says, while exhorting 50,000 teachers in Delhi to continue their good work with dedication and a sense of commitment.
On the day of the result, Kejriwal himself took to Twitter to express his happiness:
On several occasions in the past, the Delhi government has issued advertisements warning private schools against unreasonable fee hikes that burden the parents, and in general, the extortionist ways of these schools. In how many states do you see such active interest in education? There are advertisements usually tom-toming the welfare schemes of incumbent governments. These are basically promotional in nature, aimed at voters, not at citizens at large.
Other states should take note.
If the article is already sounding too sweet on the AAP government, it cannot be helped. The CBSE results may or may not be due to its efforts and we are yet to know whether its initiatives are going to bring the big change that the education sector needs, but the fact that a government is showing interest in an area that won’t fetch it votes and has kept at it, is interesting.
The appreciation comes from the personal conviction that two sectors — health and education — should not be left at the mercy of private players. The latter can have a role, but it should not be an overwhelming one. Both areas form an essential social infrastructure critical for the growth of the country. As the experience of countries like Singapore reveals, all effort put here is a good investment. An educated and healthy population is always better prepared to reap the benefits of growth and take the process forward than their uneducated counterparts. So any government effort to make these sectors better is welcome.
Private players moved in and flourished because the governments deliberately allowed quality of education to slip. It has gone on for so long that state-run schools, at least most of them, have lost the energy to revive themselves. It’s high time governments moved in.