The Delhi government and municipal corporations’ ambitious plan to improve learning levels in junior classes doesn’t seem to have received the desired response, with only around 50% students attending classes. Called Mission Buniyaad, it was launched for students from classes III to V in municipal schools to focus on their reading, writing, and mathematical abilities. The programme, which began in May, ends on June 31.
As per indicative data provided by the three corporations, around 53% of the students were present in south corporation schools; 48% attended classes in the North; and around 50% in the East. Sources said that the prime reason was that mid-day meals were not being served. The South MCD had planned to provide refreshments to students, while the other two civic bodies have not made any such plans as the contractor who provides meals during regular classes does not serve food during the holidays.
As part of the meal, students get dal, roti and chawal. Sources added that attendance decreased further in June. “Mid-day meal is the main attraction for students, even during normal school hours. But the agency that serves the meal does not provide it during the summer break. Besides, a lot of children studying in our schools come from families of migrant workers… and they go home during the vacation,” said an official.
“If a family has three children and one of them is enrolled under the Buniyaad scheme, they will not wait for his or her classes to finish. Besides, the heat could be another reason why many don’t turn up,” added the official.
The South Corporation is the only body that has made arrangements for snacks for Rs 10, under which they provide biscuits and chips. This too, however, was delayed by around 15 days as the school closed on May 10. Refreshments were provided from May 25.
A senior official of the East Corporation said that it does not have enough funds to give students meals, and advised them to bring food from home. Mayor of South Corporation Narender Chawla said the 50% figure is not bad as it shows that they have achieved half-way mark.
“In the coming years, we will make a plan through which we can give special classes to those who have been left out. We are working on other plans too through which our enrollment rate could be improved.” While the North civic body has 765 schools under its jurisdiction, East civic body has 365 and SDMC has 581 schools.
Corporation schools offer education till Class V, after which students migrate to schools under the Delhi government.