Weeks after an international daily praised the AAP-led Delhi government's education model, the apex child rights body NCPCR has pointed out lacunas like a high number of vacant posts of principals, pupil to teacher ratio and dropout rate.
Titled 'Clean Toilets, Inspired Teachers: How India's Capital Is Fixing Its Schools', the New York Times had praised the Delhi government's education system, calling it a lifeline for millions of families looking to break the cycle of poverty.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) released a report on its observations regarding the Delhi government schools.
In learning outcomes, the NCPCR said Delhi has scored below the national average. On the out-of-school children, the NCPCR said the transition rate from primary to upper primary (i.e., class 5th to 6th) was 99.86 per cent and that for elementary to secondary (class 8th to 9th) was 96.77 per cent in 2015-16.
"However, the transition rate for both levels declined in subsequent years. Though later in the year 2018-19 the rate increased but is still lower than the transition rate in 2015-16," it said.
"That means not all children completing primary education enter the upper primary level. For instance, in 2016-17, 39,9916 students enrolled in class 5 in Delhi schools, next year in 2017-18, the enrolment in class 6 was 37,0803 which means close to 30,000 students did not enter the next grade. Further, in 2018-19, the enrolment in class 7 was 36,9484 which means that further children dropped out from the schools or repeated the class," the NCPCR said.
On Pupil-Teacher Ratio, the NCPCR said Delhi has the second highest Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) (1:33) at primary level after Bihar.
"At elementary level, the ratio (1:31) is highest among all States/UTs. The PTR shows availability of adequate number of teachers for teaching the children enrolled at different levels of education," the NCPCR said.
As per norms and standards are given under the 'Schedule' of RTE Act, 2009, for primary classes the PTR should be 1:30 and for the upper primary level it should be 1:35.
High PTR indicates a greater number of students per teacher implying less focus of teachers on students resulting in a decline in the quality of teaching.
Over appointment of principals, it said, a team of NCPCR officials led by Chairperson, NCPCR visited Government schools in Delhi and besides, discrepancies with respect to the infrastructure and other aspects of the functioning of the schools, it was also highlighted that posts of Principal/Head Master are vacant in schools.
Moreover, as per data available on UDISE+ Dashboard for 2020-21 there are total 1027 schools under Department of Education out of which only 203 schools have Headmaster/acting Headmaster/Principal (nine schools have Headmaster, three schools have acting Headmaster and 191 school have Principal).
The RTE Act, 2009 outlining the Norms and Standards for schools, for classes 6th to 8th, where admission of children is above one hundred, stated there shall be a full-time head-teacher in the school," it said.
The NCPCR also pointed out the alleged faulty mechanism followed for the Desh Ke Mentor programme of the Government of Delhi.
A complaint was received in the NCPCR regarding Desh Ke Mentor programme introduced by the Government of Delhi alleging that as per the scheme children and unknown people are brought together for the purpose of education and career guidance.
"This may expose children to probable safety and security risks. Acting on the matter and examining the selection process of mentor, it was suggested to address the concerns regarding the safety of children before introducing this programme," the NCPCR said.
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