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Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance. Hence it's imperative in the interest of societal development that its children and youth are well educated. It's a shame that Delhi, despite being the capital of India, is not fully literate whereas a small state like Kerala has attained 100% literacy. Worse, Delhi Region is among the worst performances with only 78.6 % pass percentage. Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia highlight one swimming pool or one so-called state of the art school building whereas the on-ground reality is quite grim as there is no proper roadmap to revamp the Delhi’s education system.
Due to the shortage and re-distributing of teachers into non-teaching jobs, lakhs of children are deprived of an education. I have raised several issues of the hindrance to the educational development like the acquisition of school lands, fee hikes, domicile-reservations and lack of sufficient facilities in municipal schools many times and have been working towards offering quality education to all Delhiites. In 2006 when the government of Delhi decided to auction the land for construction of schools I protested to cancel the auctioning as the money spent would be recovered from the parents by increasing the education fee leading to the commercialization of education.
The multi-crore purchase of paper for textbook publishing scandal went without a probe until 2008 when the issue of non-availability of text-books arose. I demanded the government to conduct an inquiry into this, but it is common knowledge that the text book mafia active in Delhi functions under the government's patronage and makes textbooks unavailable to students in time. This is an international fraud so that private publishers can amass crores of rupees by publishing fake textbooks.
In 2009, following the implementation of 6th pay Commission, private schools were bound to hike education fee to bring the teachers' salaries on par with salaries of government employees and thus the situation of paying the arrears to teachers came up. These arrears were to be recovered by hiking education fees, thus putting an overall burden on parents. I asked the Delhi government to intervene and compensate the difference by offering an appropriate subsidy to private schools. I questioned the Chief Minister on why the Delhi government was ready to offer a subsidy to the power companies who often raised the power rates irrationally? I felt that the state government needed to offer a subsidy to schools where it was necessary so that the students and their parents are not forced to bear the burden of hiked fees and arrears. But the Delhi government hiked the school fees due to which the parents suffered. I along with other BJP leaders protested against this, but Delhi government refused to budge.
I recognized that protests and demonstrations were not the only way to raise the issue of youth development and contribute to its success. So in 2010 under the banner of Lok Abhiyan, I began a program called 'Face to Face' where students could directly ask questions to the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University regarding admissions. Such programs were conducted to bridge the gap between the government and the public.
I highlighted the need to increase the number of seats from 54,000 in Delhi University when I found that hardly 10,000 of the 2 lakhs students who pass 12th class from Delhi got admission. I urged the government to increase the number of seats in different courses to help the children from Delhi not to move out for education. I suggested that if it's not possible to increase the seats then the government should at least start evening classes in all colleges. But when I saw no action taken in this regard by the government I had to sit in a dharna for an 85% reservation in DU colleges for those who graduate from CBSE in Delhi. I demanded that if this was not possible for all 81 colleges to reserve seats then seats must be reserved at least in those colleges which are being completely funded by Delhi government. I even called a meeting of Delhi school principals seeking their support to ensure students studying in Delhi schools are not deprived of education in Delhi. I received support from several quarters and soon a delegation met Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in this regard but no action was taken. After the AAP came into power, I met Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia, HRD Minister and the Vice Chancellor. I am happy that though the Kejriwal government delayed the implementation thinking assuming I would get the credit, the Delhi assembly finally passed the bill a year later. I find it a personal victory for the five-year long struggle.
In 2004, when I was the Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, I managed to rope in several voluntary organizations to improve 12 MCD schools. We devised a School Improvement Scheme in which children would be given free textbooks. But the Delhi government prevented me from implementing the Scheme. The condition of MCD schools were so poor that even basic facilities like desks, chairs, midday meals and water coolers were not available. I demanded the permission from the Congress government to improve the condition of the MCD schools and if they were not interested then they should at least permit me to carry out my School Improvement Scheme.
One must appreciate how Vijay Goel is working so hard and looking out for all sports. One can feel the change. Best wishes!
Simply will appreciate Vijay Goel's working style, witnessed his personal attention to west Delhi - Paschim Vihar ppl even at late hours.
No cricket with Pak until terrorism stops, says sports minister Vijay Goel Finally! Kudos for a much needed call!
Vijay Goel is a national leader with wider vision and worked on the ground in Delhi.