It was in 2015, when the AAP government had been in power barely for three months, that Delhi government schools pulled a stunner. While private schools bagged a pass percentage of 85.48 per cent in the CBSE Class XII board exams, government schools were ahead by over three percentage points with 88.22 per cent. It was not surprising that government schools had outperformed private ones — it had happened earlier in 2009 and 2010. What was surprising was the dip in pass percentage of private schools, which fell from 92.09 in 2014 to 85.48 in 2015.
In the two years that it has been in power, the AAP government has invested in education, allotting it the biggest share in the budget and trying innovative methods to improve learning levels of children. But the pass percentage of government schools has largely remained the same. During the same time, however, the performance of private schools has dipped, but only in Delhi. The pass percentage in private schools in other cities has remained mostly the same.
According to some school principals in the capital, one reason could be the increase in the number of CBSE schools and students in the city. In 2015, the number of students from Delhi government schools who appeared for the Class XII exams was fewer than those who appeared in 2014. In private schools, however, this number increased. Similarly, while the number of schools run by the Delhi government has increased only marginally, private schools have mushroomed across the capital. While there were 1,546 schools in 2013, this increased to 1,618 in 2014 and 1,714 in 2015.
“Most of the schools that have opened in the city over the past few years have been in the outskirts of the city, where there is very little supervision and quality control. The scrutiny is for the older schools and their results have remained consistently good. Also, many affiliated schools have cropped up, which do not have any checks and balances,” said Jyoti Arora, principal, Mt Abu Public School, Rohini.
Other principals agree. “Affiliated private schools have come up in every nook and corner of the city. Their results might affect the results of the whole group of private schools,” said the principal of an east Delhi school, who did not wish to be named.