Delhi government to set up its own school education board which will produce ‘fiercely patriotic individuals’

Published : March 09, 2021 19:05 IST

Manish Sisodia, Delhi’s Education Minister, during a visit to a Government Girls’ Sr Sec School in East Delhi recently. Photo: PTI

The AAP government in Delhi has stepped into the tricky terrain of educating children in such a way that they develop into staunch patriots as adults. For this purpose, it has decided to have its own education board which will promote a curriculum that will focus on making children good human beings and not rote learners.

The government plans to have 20-25 schools in Delhi to be affiliated to the State education board in the beginning this year and make it such a success that there will be demand from schools themselves to join the State education board. There are 2,700 schools in Delhi, of which 1,000 are Delhi government schools and 1,700 are private schools. Most of these schools are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). This ambitious plan, which was announced in the Delhi government’s Budget in March 2020, was finally rolled out on March 6, 2021, to be operationalised from the 2021-22 academic session.

Announcing the decision after the Cabinet approved it, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the idea behind having its own education board was in keeping with the New Education Policy guidelines and the purpose was to produce “fiercely patriotic individuals, who will also be good human beings, and self dependent. They will be educated as per their aptitude so that they can also become job creators and provide employment to others too instead of just running into the job market rat race.”

The State education board will be called the Delhi Board of School Education and its governing body will be headed by the State Education Minister. Its administrative functions will be carried out by an executive body which will be headed by a CEO.

The Chief Minister said no school would be coerced into joining the State board, instead they would be given a choice after discussions with school principals, teachers and parents. “We plan to make these schools such role models that there will be demand from schools to join our board,” said Delhi’s Education Minister Manish Sisodia.

Incidentally, the Delhi government is invested heavily in improving its education sector. It at present allocates 25 per cent of its Budget on education. It has made an ambitious plan to improve the State’s education system. The plan, called Vision 2030, focuses on improving the education infrastructure. The government has already started sending its teachers and principals for training to institutions across the world. Every government school now has estate managers. The government has implemented a happiness curriculum which teaches students meditation and how to improve interpersonal relationship skills. Vision 2030 talks about having at least one School of Excellence in each district, digitally connected classrooms, junior classes to have interactive TV sets, smart cards for each student which will facilitate attendance, medical facilities, and also student exchange programmes with other countries. “Our efforts have resulted in improving our schools’ results by 98 per cent,” said Sisodia.

The government set up two committees recently: one to oversee the framework of board formation and the other to design the curriculum. But what worries educationists is the emphasis on producing patriots. “The surmise that schools at present are not producing patriots in itself is problematic. Besides, what will be the criteria for judging such students?” said one educationist. The All India Parents’ Association president Ashok Agrawal too disapproved the idea of a separate board, saying this could make Delhi students lag behind.

But the proposal, on the whole, has met with a positive response. Dr C.B. Sharma, chairman of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), said it was a good idea as has been seen in the case of some other States as well. “We should not assume that the Delhi government will dilute standards. If they follow the NCERT curriculum and have a judicious mix of local content, then in my opinion it will be good for students in the long run.”