Delhi govt ‘merges’ close to 100 schools, fails to inform parents
Prime public land is being diverted by the system to commercial or other interests, said a former dean of the Faculty of Education in Delhi University
The Delhi government merged 50 schools in April 2022 and another 50 were merged between May and September, without bothering to inform parents of the decision when their children were shifted out. They learnt much later that the previous schools no longer existed.
In the latest such move, Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Netaji Nagar was merged with Sarvodya Vidyalaya in RK Puram 13. Both are co-ed schools and the order dated September 29 justified the move on ‘optimum use of resources’.
The order, accessed by National Herald, highlights that steps should be taken to re-deploy the staff as per enrolment and adjust them elsewhere for ‘rational use of resources’.
In Netaji Nagar, the school authorities had informed the students that they would be shifted temporarily because the structure was dilapidated. “So, the students went along. Later, they have found out that 20 rooms have been built. But now there is a notification that the school has been merged. The building has been handed over to an NGO. There should be an explanation and justification,” said Nandita Narain, chairperson of the Joint Forum for Movement on Education (JFME)
Shaheed Amirchand Sarvodaya Co-Ed School on Shyamnath Marg, with 2,000 students, has been merged with Shaheed Bal Mukund Sarvodaya Co-ed School, on Shankaracharya Marg, that already had 2,500 students. “The parents were not informed about the merger. The schools were nearby each other. At Amirchand campus, the government decided to start operations of the Delhi Sports University until construction work at the varsity’s Mundka complex ends. We found out that the school ID has also been removed from the list,” said Dharam Pal, who was on the school management committee of Amirchand Sarvodaya.
Shakti Nagar Girls' School No 1 and Boys' School No 1 have been merged citing reform in quality and discipline. But the overcrowding and indiscipline have increased to such an extent that many parents have had to pull out their daughters, said Sharda Dixit, a former school principal and joint secretary of the All India Save Education Committee (Delhi).
“The government can’t do this under the pretext of co-education without a thought to over-crowding and consent of the parents of the girls, who are not at all comfortable with this. Children of labourers and daily wage workers attend several of these schools,” said Narain at a press conference.
Parents of children studying in a school in Sonia Vihar (Trans Yamuna area) have been complaining about the fact that the school now has 7,000-8,000 students, as a result of which classes are being held in shifts of three hours.
“My daughter is in Class VII and her school timings are from 7 am to 9.40 am in a day. After that she comes home. Another batch of students attend classes from 10 am to 12.30 pm. During this period, the students are compulsorily taught the happiness and desh bhakti curriculum. Other subjects are taught every alternate day,” says Ashwini Kumar, parent of a student at Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Sonia Vihar.
“This not just a question of merging schools. There is a larger picture of poor children being thrown out of the education system. This was the first government which was against the Right to Education Act, where they wanted to detain students from Class 3. They are forcing students, who may not perform well in class 9, or get a compartment in class 10, to leave and join the Open School system, to showcase better results in the CBSE Board Examination,” said Prof Anita Rampal, former dean of the Faculty of Education in Delhi University.
Merger ensures, Rampal pointed out, that the poor children are being deprived of the little they have instead of them getting better. Already, schools are crammed and several of these students will fall out of the system. Children who really need quality education are the ones that are being short-changed. Through mergers, prime public land is diverted by the system to commercial or other interests, she said.
“The government is going out of the way spending money on propaganda and they are using the school management committees to gain political mileage. The Aam Aadmi Party gets accolades for their so-called education model without anyone realising who is facing the brunt of this. How is this constitutional?” asks Rampal.
In April 2022, the Government Boys' Senior Secondary School (GBSSS) in CR Park was merged with Govt. Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (Shyama Prasad Mukherjee) in CR Park; GBSSS in Hari Nagar Ashram with Sarvodaya (Co-ed) in Hari Nagar Ashram; Government Sarvodaya Vidyalaya (GSV) in Sarai Kale Khan, Vidyut Nagar, with Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV) in Hari Nagar Ashram; GBSSS in Kalkaji with Government Girls Senior Secondary School No.3 in Kalkaji; GBSSS No.2 in Shahdara with GBSSS No.1 in the same locality; GGSSS in Janta Flats, Nand Nagri with E-SKV, Nand Nagri; GBSSS in Padam Nagar with SKV, Padam Nagar; GBSSS in New Jafrabad with GBSSS in Jafrabad Extension; GBSSS in Begumpur with SKV in MMTC/STC Colony, Begumpur; GBSSS No.3 in Sector IV, Dr Ambedkar Nagar with Sarvoday Kanya Vidyalaya in Dr Ambedkar Nagar; GGSSS in Sector IV, Dr Ambedkar Nagar with GGSSS in Tigri, Dr Ambedkar Nagar; GBSSS No.1 in Dr Ambedkar Nagar with GGSSS in Dr Ambedkar Nagar; GBSSS in Khaira with GGSSS in Khaira; GBSSS No. 3 in Palam Enclave with GGSSS No. 3 in Palam Enclave; GBSSS No. 2 in Shakirpur with GGSSS No. 1 in Shakirpur; GBSSS No. 1 in Keshavpuram with SKV, Keshavpuram; GBSSS in D-Block, Sultanpuri with GGSSS in Sultanpuri; GBSSS Rani Bagh with GGSSS in Rani Bagh; GBSSS in F-Block Inder Puri with SKV in F-Block Inder Puri.
In another instance in April, two schools, GGSSS in Pataudi House, Darya Ganj and GGSSS in Kalan Mahal have been merged with SKV in Pataudi House.
National Herald reached out to Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia, education department secretary and Director of the Department of Education through calls and emails, but got no response. The article will be updated, if and when they respond.