In an unprecedented step, the Delhi government has set aside a portion of its Rs 65,000 crore budget estimate for developing a new school education board for the state.
Since it came to power in 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party-government has been dedicating the largest section of its budget to education, particularly schools. This time too, it has dedicated 24.33% of the total budget — or Rs 15,815 crore — to the education sector.
Of this, it has set aside Rs 62 crore for setting up a separate state board of education for Delhi and developing a new curriculum for its schools. While almost all schools run by the state governments in other states follow their respective state boards, Delhi’s government schools follow the Central Board of Secondary Education.
“Our government believes that education should play a guiding role in society. This is possible only when we connect education with the contemporary needs of society, and the possibilities of tomorrow. For this, we will also have to make changes in our curriculum and examination system so that our students can go beyond book knowledge and gain practical knowledge and use it properly. The aim of the new Board is to establish such a system of education and examination in which children focus on understanding and learning rather [than] score marks by rote learning, so that they prepare themselves for the possible challenges of the upcoming world,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia while presenting the budget.
He also stated that an expert committee of “eminent scholars” will prepare a new curriculum for all classes of its schools, beginning from nursery.
Last year, Sisodia had raised the need for a separate Board in Delhi after the CBSE introduced a significant exam fee hike.
He also announced that students of Delhi government schools will be prepared to appear for the 2024 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam. An international test of education quality and student ability, the exam takes place once every three years for 15-year-old students in participant countries.
Among the other education initiatives mentioned include providing newspapers to students and organising “parent workshops” for parents of government school students, and setting up five schools of excellence specialising in specific streams in each of the 29 zones in Delhi.
The infrastructure proposals include construction of 17 new school buildings in 2020-2021, creating at least 10 “digital classrooms” in every government school and converting 90 double-shift schools into single-shift ones.
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