Parents of students studying in government schools can soon expect personalised letters signed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The letters, which have to be distributed by principals, enquire about the well-being of the children and tell parents about the work the government has done in the field of education. Principals have received hundreds of letters from the Chief Minister’s office with an identical message, but addressing each child and parent individually.
The letters begin: “Respected [parent’s name]. How is [child’s name] studies going? I am very concerned about [child’s name] studies. We have done a lot of work to make education in schools good.”
Why some oppose move
The Delhi government had started a data-collection drive last year, asking for comprehensive data, including voter ID details, of students, guardians and siblings. The EC and government had locked horns over this, with the EC asking that the exercise be stopped. As per the government, it was to determine how many students enrolled in city schools are Delhi residents.
It goes on to state that the government has built new classrooms, is constructing new buildings, and that teachers and principals are being trained in other countries. It also states that Delhi government schools now produce better results than private schools and that “this is happening for the first time in this country,” and many people have withdrawn their children from private schools to admit them in government schools in the last two years.
It also goes on to mention the ‘Happiness Classes’ and what is being taught in them.
“We want that [child’s name] studies and does very well for himself/herself and do your family’s name proud. Make him/her put in a lot of effort, educate him/her and make him/her a good person,” the letter states. Each letter is signed by Kejriwal.
Principals received e-mails from their zonal cluster centre offices, asking them to collect the letters and distribute them.
Some principals, however, have questioned the move. “A party is misusing personal details of students to do politics inside schools, and is using our efforts for that. This is exam season and instead of focusing on that, teachers are being made to track down students — as the letters mention only the name and not the student’s class or section — and distribute letters to them,” said the head of a northwest Delhi school.
This comes around three weeks after Kejriwal told a gathering of parents and students to vote for the AAP in the Lok Sabha elections if they “love their children”, at an event held in a government school to inaugurate the construction of 11,000 new classrooms. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights also wrote to the DoE last month, taking suo motu cognizance of a complaint regarding the “bad influence of election campaign in Delhi government schools”.
Meanwhile, the CM’s media advisor refused to divulge what the purpose of the letter was.