236k+ apply for entry to Delhi’s govt schools
The Delhi government on Monday said it has received over 236,500 applications for admission to public schools in nursery to Class 12 for the academic year 2021-22. Of these, over 158,400 aspirants have already been admitted.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted the figures on Monday and said it was the first time that “this (of students moving to government schools in such large numbers) is happening in India”.
“Till date, the Directorate of Education, Govt. of NCT of Delhi has received 236,522 applications for admission in classes between Nursery to 12 for the session 2021-22. So far, 158,484 students have been admitted in Delhi government schools. The admission process is still on,” the education department said in a statement.
The department also said the enrolment – number of students in government schools – had increased substantially. “After the new admissions, the enrolment in government schools is now 17.67 lakh [1.76 million] for the session 2021-22, from 16.28 lakh [1.62 million] in the previous academic session, which is also higher than the 15.05 lakh [1.5 million] in 2019-20,” the statement said.
The Delhi education department conducts two types of admission – planned and non-planned.
Students who from switch one government school to another are considered planned admissions while those switching from private schools to government ones are considered non-planned admissions.
A senior education department official, requesting anonymity, said, “A substantial part of the 236,522 applications is made up of non-planned admissions. We can’t say that all these students are from private schools since the figure also includes applications for entry-level classes (nursery, kindergarten and class 1) and the aspirants may or may not be from private schools. The non-planned admissions, from Class 6 onwards can be considered as those who have migrated from private schools.”
Several government school principals reported an increase in admissions when compared to previous years.
Sukhbir Singh Yadav, president of the government principals’ association, said, “Non-planned admissions have increased a lot. We received over 3,000 applications for classes 6 to 9 this year as compared to around 1,800 last year. This is mainly due to the economic crisis wrought by the pandemic and lack of in-person classes. Parents do not want to continue paying for online classes that often ignore the plight of students without smartphones. Government schools at least have worksheets for such students.”
Mary Jyotsna Minj, principal of a government girls’ school in New Kondli, said, “In most government schools, the strength has increased because parents have been considering it a safe choice as they don’t have to pay fee. We have all streams and that is why we get more students from our cluster. The admissions to classes 6 to 12 have jumped manifold in the past two years. Before the pandemic, every year, we saw a jump of 200-250 students in non-planned admissions to classes 6 to 12. This figure jumped to around 400 during the last academic year and this year, we received around 4,900 students which is a jump from 4,100 from the pre-pandemic year.”
Rohini resident Rashmi Bhatnagar, whose son was admitted to Class 11 in a government school this year, said, “The infrastructure of Delhi government schools has improved over the years and we have noticed a change in the quality of teaching in these schools. Public schools are coming up with several schemes to help students with learning. They focus on the holistic development of children with entrepreneurship mindset curriculum, etc. We do not have any economic challenges as such but we made the switch only on account of the quality of education.”
Closure of schools for younger children and continued online education also prompted parents to opt for government schools. Old Delhi resident Nazia, who has two children studying in Delhi government schools, said the family faced hardships during the pandemic due to delayed disbursal of salaries. Her husband, who also works as a teacher in a low-budget private school, was worried about the stability of his job.
“Covid-19 affected the household income of many families. We didn’t know if my husband would even retain his job. My older son studied in a private school till Class 5 and was going to switch to another private school in Class 6. But the pandemic delayed the transfer process indefinitely. We did not want our child’s year to be wasted so we enrolled him in a government school. I also enrolled my younger son in a nearby government school for now because we don’t know when classes will resume for younger children,” she said.