‘RTE is good,but govt needs to upgrade its schools,give support to private institutions’

Quest Interview with Principal DPS,R K Puram,Dr Saini. He says his career took a turn when a friend explained to him that he was going to retire a physical training instructor if he did not “do something about it”.

Written by Express News Service | Published: May 21, 2012 12:02 am

Quest Interview with Principal DPS,R K Puram,Dr Saini. He says his career took a turn when a friend explained to him that he was going to retire a physical training instructor if he did not “do something about it”. Saini has been associated with Delhi Public School (DPS) for the last 34 years and was made principal of DPS,

R K Puram,three years ago. In his own words,he was an “average” student throughout,and grabbed every opportunity to represent his school,college and university in sports.

How do you think the Right to Education Act 2009 has changed things in the last two years?

The RTE is a good initiative. We have a certain responsibility towards members of our society and we need to fulfill them. But it has to be implemented with proper infrastructure. There must be facilities in the school for such students so that they can be looked after. Separate teaching-learning facilities are needed in schools. Teachers also need to be conditioned accordingly,so that they don’t discriminate. And the students should not have the feeling that they come from a different (EWS) category. The government has taken a decision that these children should not be segregated. There are economical,psychological problems because they come from such heterogeneous backgrounds. But this will take time.

Would you buy the argument that if parents (general category) are ready to pay a little extra for the sake of their children,the government should not interfere with it?

Basically,every child in the country has the right to free and compulsory education,from the age of six to fourteen,rich or poor. It is thus the duty of the government to provide this free and compulsory education. So when the rich do not send their children to government schools because quality of education in (government) schools is not good,then they sacrifice their right to free and compulsory education and opt for private schools. They give up their rights and pay more fee than in government schools if the school is good and promises quality. At the same time,with the RTE,(EWS) students are also getting admission in the same schools alongside the general category students and free of cost. So who will pay the money? The government promises only

Rs 1,190 but the average expenditure on a DPS student per month is about Rs 5,000. Who will bear the cost? Again the burden will be on the parents of the rest of the 75 per cent children in a class. It’s like these parents are being punished,twice. One,for giving up their right to free education because the government failed to carry out its duty properly and,second,for bearing the burden of government’s promises in terms of 25 per cent reservation. There should be a solution to this. Either the government schools should upgraded or some support should be given to private schools.

Do you think that by having certain fixed criteria for providing admission to students,only those from a particular background get admitted? Does that hamper having a proper balance in the class?

There are no specifications in the EWS admissions. No criterion,except neighbourhood applies in this category. So under EWS,all types of students enter a class. Not particularly sibling or alumni. So in this 25 per cent there is no discrimination. But in the rest of the 75 per cent,school has the authority,that is given to it by the government,to formulate its admission policy with transparency. We abide by the rules. We have given weightage to all categories. Why should siblings not be considered? It becomes very difficult for parents to manage sending their children to two different schools.

Have parents under the EWS category raised any concerns?

There is a problem with the definition of the term. A peon,if he earns more than a lakh a year,cannot be placed under this category. While someone less suitable or needful may be. Question: What has been your experience with CCE?Answer: CCE is very good for the all-round development of the child. Thus,it serves the purpose of education. It caters to the physical,mental and social development of the child. From that perspective it’s very good. But implementation does not match up to the philosophy. It can vary from school to school and teacher to teacher. In our culture,one has to be very honest to be able to carry it out. The work load on the teachers has increased. Earlier it was the government’s job to conduct exams,check papers and declare results. But now it is all up to the teacher. The teacher is spending all his time in paper work.

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