The article, “Delhi gets poor grade in Education” appearing in the Hindustan Times Newspaper on the 23rd. of January is a grim warning of what happens when we go for mass expansion without having the proper infrastructure. The article states,"The Delhi Education Department may have boasted of enrolling 81,000 new students in 2009, the highest ever for any single year, but it has lost its rank in the top five performing states”.
One of the major problems found in the Government and Government-Aided schools in Delhi is overcrowding. The ideal teacher-student ratio in each classroom would be 1-30, but when you have a ratio of 1-60 or 1-70, then things start to go wrong. The much hyped reforms introduced recently, C.C.E. or So called Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation system can simply not be implemented in such crowded classrooms! To think that C.C.E. can work in a crowded classroom of 70 students is mere wishful thinking of a dreamer or a poet living in a world of fantasy.
Various schemes like Ladli and various financial schemes introduced by the Delhi Government no doubt attract a large number of students, but unfortunately only a small percentage of these students continue as students.
Unfortunately, we seem to be obsessed with numbers, creating records in enrolling students in one year. We don’t look at the larger implications of treating students as cattle to be loaded onto cattle-trains. We are talking about students, human beings who have intelligent, creative minds. The need of the hour is to bring down the teacher-student ratio in Government, Government-Aided schools to 1-30! We need more classrooms, more teachers, and more schools, and not just cash incentives to students!
The increasing number of cases of indiscipline, and violence in the schools of Delhi is largely due to overcrowded schools, overcrowded classrooms, and a very poor teacher-student ratio. Also, it is high time the Government did something to increase respect for teachers in students! Today, students are not afraid of failing or flunking in exams because students of first to eighth cannot be failed according to Directives from the Department of Education! Discipline and respect cannot be instilled in students without a fear of flunking!
Unless the Authorities address the above major problems, Delhi will continue to slip on the National Education Development Index or the E.D.D.!