March 10, 2021 1:10:21 am
A virtual school, an ‘Army preparation’ school, a new law university — proposals for a host of new educational institutes were announced by the Delhi government in its budget allocation for education on Tuesday.
For the coming financial year, the government has set aside Rs 16,377 crore for education — around 23.74% of the total budget estimates of 2021-2022. Like previous years, education received the lion’s share.
With teaching-learning moving online for a greater part of the ongoing financial year, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia announced a ‘Virtual Delhi Model School’ and said it will be an attempt by the government to carry forward the experiences of the past year. In his speech, he also suggested that this school will be accessible for children outside Delhi as well.
“… a school that will not have four walls or a building, but there would be children, teachers, regular teaching-learning, examinations and assessments, and studies shall be completed. It will be a unique experiment in itself, and will probably be the first virtual school in the world. Work has already begun on the design of this school and it will be my endeavour to ensure that it is ready and functional by the next session. This will benefit students in Delhi as well as all those children who live in any part of the country but want to benefit from the Delhi Education Model,” he stated.
Sisodia also announced proposals under the ‘Deshbhakti Budget’, this year’s theme, for two new schools to encourage and help students join the military.
“To prepare our children for the security of the country’s borders, we propose to start a new Sainik School and a Delhi Armed Forces Preparatory Academy in Delhi. There are currently 33 Sainik Schools in the country but none in Delhi. We will establish Delhi’s first Sainik School. Along with this, the Delhi Armed Forces Preparatory Academy will be started. Along with their regular studies, children will be prepared for recruitment to the NDA and the Army,” he said in his speech.
The budget allocations also include a proposal for expansion of the existing network of Schools of Excellence — resource rich, English-medium schools run by the Delhi government. Currently, there are five Schools of Excellence and 22 Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalayas (RPVVs). The budget allocation proposes expanding the number of Schools of Excellence to 100, including the existing RPVVs.
In higher education, Sisodia announced plans to introduce the New Delhi Law University and a teachers’ university — something which had been announced in the 2019 budget speech as well.
With proposals for new institutes, land for constructing and developing is likely to be a challenge for the government. “Multiplicity of authorities is a legacy problem in Delhi. We will discuss land allocation with the DDA. In the past too, these issues have been resolved. We were given land to build bus depots. We are sure these issues will be resolved,” said CM Arvind Kejriwal in response to a query on this.
The budget speech also included the announcement of a new mentorship volunteer programme, called ‘Youth for Education’, to mobilise educated youth to help students facing difficulties in studies.
“CM Kejriwal ji constantly reiterates that we need to make education a mass movement. We will start this in Delhi on the 75th year of Independence. We will prepare lakhs of successful, educated youth to help those students who are struggling in reading and writing due to lack of resources or information,” said Sisodia.
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