Arvind Kejriwal headed AAP has led itself into a trailblazing victory in the recent Delhi elections. While the opposition is still gathering its wits, this victory is being hailed as AAP’s moral victory over the centre. With celebrations underway, the voters are already brimming with excitement over the next 5 years of administration by the Aam Admi Party with Arvind Kejriwal at its helm. Particularly the education sector is hoping for some swooping changes.
It would be interesting to see what the Aam Admi Party has in store particularly for the education sector with many of its plans from the previous manifesto still wanting to see the light of the day. One of those promises by AAP was to set up new colleges in New Delhi, but so far little progress has been made in this area and AAP has further decided to cut funding for certain colleges at the University of Delhi.
In 2015 AAP had made a promise of opening 500 new government schools in the entire region. However, an RTI in 2019 revealed that only 55 schools were actually given a green nod. A number too minuscule against its target.
Although, the residents of Delhi appreciated a really important initiative of the ‘Parent-Teacher meetings that was introduced in Delhi state schools. The main obstacle to reform is that the Delhi government has no control over the permanent hiring of teachers. The purpose of reform must be to achieve an outcome, and in this specific case of education, it must be an improvement in educational outcomes.
After the central government failed to approve the state government’s accounts and reimbursement of excess fees 2015 draft law, requiring private schools to make their books available to state government inspectors without assistance. The education directorate harassed the private school administrations, which have given government inspectors full access to their business books in the interests of transparency, with a rain of orders and circulars. At the same time, the AAP government is instigating small groups of parents to disrupt school activities by pushing for freeze fees and reimbursements. Not surprisingly, private schools affiliated under the banner of the Action Committee of the Unaided Private Schools of Delhi contested the appointment of the committee, none of which reimbursed the allegedly excessive fees as directed by the Education Directorate.
However, despite such steep measures, the enrollment rate in the Delhi State-run schools has dropped by 8%.
In his landmark T.M.A., the Pai Foundation vs. Union of India (2002), a Supreme Court bank, explicitly allowed private educational institutions to generate reasonable profits for institutional growth and development and made a clear distinction between profit needed and profit. However, full citizenship of Delhi is an essential prerequisite for building a better infrastructure to offer every child in Delhi the same opportunities.
In accordance with the provisions of this legislation, the AAP government instructed 575 private, unsupported (independent) schools in Delhi in May last year to reimburse the crore surplus fees charged by these schools to parents of enrolled children between June 2016 and January 2018.
The BJP, on the other hand, has tried to hold the AAP government responsible for the deterioration in the legal and regulatory situation in Delhi. It helps that Kejriwal and Sheila Dikshit, the Prime Minister of Congress before him, were concerned that the Delhi police were not under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government, therefore it is not easy to jeopardize law and order.
The AAP campaign was primarily based on the demand for statehood in Delhi.
The immediate problems that voters recognized in the light of parliamentary elections concerned the sealing of commercial establishments in the capital that the party did not address directly during its campaigns.
At that point, an interesting loss was the massive drop in votes and the loss of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which won 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi in the 2015 state elections. It is interesting to analyze how this choice resulted in a certain section crossing over to favour the BJP and why the AAP failed to assert itself.
The election results of the General Assembly in 2014, which had also favoured the BJP, had shown that the AAP in Delhi had a vote share of 32.9 per cent. The 2015 National Assembly elections were a key moment when Congress was defeated by the AAP, which won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi. In 2020 this number has been further pushed back to 62 seats. Now it would be left to voters to decide whether AAP is winning or consistently losing a margin of its vote bank in each consecutive elections. Also interesting to see would be the actual work on the tall agendas laid out in the election manifesto.