Clutching her School Voucher Certificate, seven year-old Taiyeba Rahman, a resident of Chauhar Bangar, east Delhi, was all smiles on Wednesday. She did not understand what the certificate meant, but sensing her father Atiq Rahman’s happiness, she knew it was something great.
“My father has told me I will go to a big school with swings now,” said Taiyeba.
Taiyeba is one of the 400 recipients of the NGO, Center for Civil Society’s School Voucher for Girls Programme (SVGP) in seven colonies of North Delhi, comprising of Welcome Colony, Chauhar Bangar, Zaffrabad, New Usmanpur, Maujpur, Janta Colony and Babarpur.
Under this initiative, families of 400 female students studying in 2nd grade in MCD schools will receive a School Voucher Certificate worth Rs 4, 000 per annum for four years, which they can use to admit their wards to one of the 40 empanelled private schools located in north-east Delhi schools working with CCS.
The voucher would also cover the school fees, cost of books and uniforms.
“It is no secret that MCD schools impart low-quality education,” said Baladevan Rangaraju, programme director.
“We want to start a campaign in which students be given a voucher by the government that can be given to whichever school—government or private a student wants to go to,” said Rangaraju.
“So, to showcase that a student of a government school who is shifted to a private school achieves higher academic standards, we started the pilot project, SVGP.”
The 40 private schools for which these students have been given a voucher have agreed to admit the MCD students on compassionate grounds, though they also benefit.
“Under such a tie-up, we are also assured the yearly tuition on time,” said Dinesh Jain, principal of Alka Public School.
To start with, the programme has selected mostly female students of Muslim or socially disadvantaged backgrounds.
“We chose the groups that have the lowest school enrollment,” said Ranjaraju.
“Moreover, all children we chose were students in the second grade of MCD schools because we wanted to make sure those who benefited could not afford private schools.”