‘Need political will and change in discourse to improve quality of public schools’

Atishi. File

Atishi. File  

Atishi Marlena says for the first time, teachers in Delhi’s public schools have been made a stakeholder in the State’s education system

Atishi Marlena, member of the Aam Aadmi Party’s political affairs committee, said that the Delhi government has been able to make education the front-end sector in the political discourse, at a panel discussion on elementary education in the city on Friday.

On the second day of Difficult Dialogues, an event held in the city, Ms. Marlena said for the first time, the large segment of teachers in Delhi’s public schools have been made a stakeholder in the State’s education system. She said, “What has really changed is that there is political will. The government in power cares about public schools. Someone should research the links between politicians and private schools. If the people in power have incentives in private education then why would they improve public education?”

‘Dignity and respect’

Ms. Marlena said that dignity and respect have been accorded to the over 40,000 teachers in public schools and they have been made to believe that the “system cares about teachers and the children in public schools”. She said, “I don’t think any changes of this nature would come in five to six years. It is not just about recruitment of teachers and improving infrastructure. The conscious part of the effort has been to change the discourse created in this country that children have a future only if they go to private schools however bad they may be. We are determined to change that discourse.”

Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India, said, “Only 2% of the education budget is spent on teacher training. We are not spending on the human resources for this sector. Government funding is being supplemented by Corporate Social Responsibility or grant funding.”

‘No financial road map’

Dr. Sukanya Bose, faculty at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi, said there is no road map in place for financing education and implementing the provisions laid out in the Right to Education Act, 2009. She said, “There are around 146 million children in the public education system and 15 million outside the system. It is the government’s responsibility to bring them back. There is a need to spend 1.5% more of the GDP.”

In a discussion about value education, Apoorvanand Jha, professor of Hindi at Delhi University, said, “We should fight majoritarianism… The value of nationalism is being imposed on students by the current government.”

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:12:05 PM |

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