Published on January 23 2010 ,Page 4

Delhi gets poor grade in education

REPORT CARD Schools slip down ranks due to infrastructure, teacher shortage

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 on the national Educational Development Index (EDI).

While it stood fourth in 200708 in the EDI for elementary education, in 2008-09 the national capital fell to the eighth position, according to an education report released by the Human Resource Development Ministry on Friday.

At least 56 per cent of the 4,930 schools covered were government schools. In primary education, Delhi has taken a beating in school infrastructure. It has slipped from second to tenth position. Upper primary schools -classes VI, VII and VIII -- suffered because of bad infrastructure and their ranks have gone down to 20th from fifth.

In terms of availability and qualification of teachers and teacher-pupil ratio, it has gone down from the third position in 2007-08 to the sixth position. "Schools, run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Education department, are suffering from teacher shortage. While the MCD has schools running vacant, the education department has admitted more children than it has schools for," said a Delhi government official on conditions of anonymity.

In an affidavit filed in November 2009 before the Delhi High Court, the Delhi Services Selection Board admitted that Delhi government schools were short of 6,714 teachers and MCD schools were short of 4,500 teachers. The Directorate of Education runs 925 schools in the Capital, while the MCD runs around 1,800 primary schools. The District Information System for Education (DISE) report for 2008-09 highlights the crumbling infrastructure in Delhi government schools.

According to the education department, government schools required at least 2,000 additional classrooms in 2009. Even if they were to run schools in double shifts, they would still require 1,000 rooms. This was over and above the backlog of 1,500 rooms already under construction.

The only silver lining in the entire report is the improvement in outcome indicators for upper primary schools, which has helped Delhi move up to 15th rank from 28 in 2007-08.