The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought to know the reason behind the segregation of students according to their learning ability under the ‘Chunauti-2018 Plan’ in Delhi government schools.
It was hearing a petition seeking to strike down the Chunauti scheme, which was implemented to check dropout rates of students and improve the quality of education, with a special focus on weaker students.
Justice C Hari Shankar sought a counter affidavit from the Delhi government and its Directorate of Education (DoE).
The Parents Forum for Meaningful Education moved the court, through advocate P S Sharda, alleging that “the unintelligible plan is also contrary to the law enacted to streamline education of children” under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and the National Policy on Education.
The court remarked that the issue before it is “very serious” and needs immediate hearing, and listed the matter for May 28.
As per the plea, “a make-believe perfunctory test is conducted to evaluate learning ability” under the plan.
“Testing and segregation is left to the whims of the principal of each school, as deemed fit by her/him. Based on unreliable results through such an unscientific, illegal, ad-hoc test, children are segregated (and) labelled ‘Pratibha’ (superior) and ‘Nishtha’ (inferior),” the plea said. “Thus labelled and disempowered, children are… made to sit in separate groups in the same school or in separate sections…,” it alleged.
The plea said the plan was “proclaimed through arbitrary” circulars in 2018 to achieve the so-called objectives based on “ability-based segregation”, and is antithetical to the core essence of “inclusive education”.
It said the segregated children are looked down upon in every passing moment of their formative days, and ultimately get unceremoniously wedged out. The plea said “such discrimination through segregation is creating an irreversible class divide; class hatred; loss of happiness; inferiority; loss of friendship…”
“This delusional experiment destroys more than what it seeks to cure. It must be stopped before it is too late. Children can’t be allowed to be treated as guinea pigs to justify low-learning outcomes in these schools,” the plea said.
“It is unfortunate the increase in dropout rate is being ignored and condition of education in government schools being in shambles in reality is being misrepresented,” it added.