Among the array of promises the Aam Aadmi Party has hinged on full statehood in its manifesto are several relating to increasing the intake of students in higher education.
In doing this, it has used the term “Right to College Education”. Currently, the term “right to education”, as it operates in India under the Right to Education Act, specifically applies to the right of children to free and compulsory elementary education up to Class VIII.
The AAP manifesto states, “Students of Delhi schools securing more than 60% marks in Class XII shall get guaranteed admission in a college as regular students.”
This is in addition to its promise of reserving 85% seats in every Delhi college for residents of Delhi, which its party members have spoken about in speeches in the run up to the elections.
According to rules, up to 85% seats can be reserved in colleges affiliated to state universities, which is the case at Ambedkar University Delhi. In central universities such as Delhi University and JNU, no such reservation is possible.
On how admission in colleges can be “guaranteed” through separate statehood, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia said that “a balance” needs to be created.
“In order for n number of students to get admission, n number of seats will have to be created. Looking at the pattern over the last 10 years, out of the two-and-a-half-lakh students who pass Class XII from Delhi schools, only about a lakh get admission in Delhi colleges. Of these, only about 25,000 go to Delhi University. Where can the rest of the children go? We are currently tied — we need land and approval from the Centre to start new colleges and universities. With full statehood, I can sanction the creation of such new institutions in a month so that children who have got even 60% in their exams can be sure of getting a seat in a college,” he said.
Another point in the education section of the manifesto is on opening “New Medical and Engineering colleges to increase the annual intake by 10,000”.
Apart from higher education, the manifesto also speaks of expanding the right to school education: “Every child in Delhi will be entitled to free, world-class education from Nursery to Class XII (age 3-18 years), so that s/he can become a happy, aware and capable citizen.”