Swanky buildings and labs: 900 kids choose Delhi’s govt school over private ones

New Delhi, Hindustan Times | By
Aug 10, 2017 10:05 AM IST

With 1,200 students on its roll, Government Co-ed Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, a school run by the Delhi government in Rohini, can give tough competition to many private schools in the city.

Dressed in a blue shirt, navy blue pants and a matching tie, Class 11 student Harsh Rawat feels no different studying at a government school than what he used to at a nearby private school in outer Delhi’s Rohini.

Sarvodaya co-ed Senior Secondary School in Rohini Sector 21, which opened on April 1, boasts of a swanky building with 69 rooms.(Burhaan Kinu/HT)
Sarvodaya co-ed Senior Secondary School in Rohini Sector 21, which opened on April 1, boasts of a swanky building with 69 rooms.(Burhaan Kinu/HT)

Three-months ago, 16-year-old Harsh Rawat moved to the newly-constructed government Sarvodaya co-ed Senior Secondary School in Rohini Sector 21 from a private school where he paid a fee of 2,500 per month. Rawat now doesn’t need to pay a school fee and thinks the new school is better.

“Why should I go to a private school and pay high fees when I am getting good facilities and quality education in a government school,” Rawat said.

Rawat is among the 900 students, who have moved from private schools to the Sector 21 government Co-ed Sarvodaya Vidyalaya. The school has 1,200 students.

The school, which was opened on April 1, boasts of a swanky building with 69 rooms, including yoga room, music room, mathematics laboratory, and science laboratory.

Vice-principal Sukhbir Singh Yadav said the school building gives the “look and feel” of a private school, which attracts parents and students.

“The first thing a parent looks in a school is the building, classroom, playground and uniform. We have especially designed the school uniform so that students can take pride when they walk into the school,” he said.

Most students and parents said they opted out of private schools due to high fees and lack of facilities.

“The private school my daughter went to charged 1,500 per month. It was really high but I had to pay it to educate her. But now government schools in the city are becoming better and this school is as good as any private school,” said Suresh Kumar, whose daughter Neha studies in Class 11.

The vice-principal said 99% students in Class 11 are those who left private schools where they were paying fee of 1,000-3,000 per month. “Other classes have a similar influx of students except for Class 6 in which we have a good number of students from our feeder municipal schools,” he said.

Quality of education, Yadav said, was equally important and recent good results of government schools have made people realise the government schools are giving a good education.

Delhi government schools had a pass percentage of 88.27% this year in Class 12 board exams compared to private schools’ 79.27%.

Yadav said the school will get more facilities. He has requested the government for CCTV cameras, public address system, badminton and basketball court, more furniture and computers. “It should come in a few months. We have just started and I will only rest when my school will get every facility,” he said.

Yadav’s school was among the four new schools opened in Rohini this year, including one Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya.

Atishi Marlena, adviser to education minister Manish Sisodia, said the government has been able to change the discourse that private schools are better than government schools by taking initiatives to improve the education system.

“Delhi has about 100-odd coveted private schools but most of the other private schools are average or below average. Anyone with little money preferred to send their children to a private school simply because they didn’t see government schools doing good. This is changing for the better,” she said.

This year the government gave education 24% of the outlay in the annual budget with allocation increasing to Rs 11,300 crore from last year’s 10,690 crore.

“But now our existing schools are improving their infrastructure and the new schools are being built with good facilities. We have focused on teachers’ training, taken initiatives for special attention on students and all of this is being noticed by parents,” she said.

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    Heena Kausar covers schools, universities and student politics in Delhi. A journalist for five years, she started her career in Kashmir and has closely tracked the entry of Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi’s political space.

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