The Delhi government will pay the examination fee charged by the CBSE from students in its schools from next year, officials said. The announcement was made on Saturday by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at an event held to celebrate the good show by Class XII students in the board examinations.
"Access to high-quality education is the right of all children. Education cannot be a matter of charity. The government will pay the exam fee of students. Soon, the government will arrange coaching for the NEET and JEE aspirants," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
He said the scholarship for the students scoring 80 per cent or above had been increased to Rs 2,500 and the rider on family income was being removed.
The government had organised a felicitation ceremony for students and their parents at the Thyagaraj stadium in New Delhi. Around 1,000 students and their families were in attendance, along with their teachers and principals.
Kejriwal addressed the gathering, congratulating the students, their teachers and parents.
"I am happy to share that over 1,000 children from Delhi's government schools have scored more than 90 per cent marks. I feel immense pride that government schools have a pass percentage of 94, beating private schools for the fourth time in a row," he said.
Kejriwal said when he took the charge of the Delhi CM, people used to request him to get their children admitted to private schools.
"Today, a majority of requests I receive are for admission to government schools. Earlier children had inferiority complex about studying in government schools. Today, they are proud of government schools," said Kejriwal.
"Manish I came from the same background as you. We are not politicians. It is our dream that every child born in this country must get high-quality education, regardless of their financial background," he said, adding that in the past 70 years a system had developed where the poor sent their children to government schools while the rich to private ones.
"The condition of government schools had deteriorated. On the other, private schools were increasingly becoming exploitative. We had set a goal that we would make government schools good enough for children studying in private schools so that they could switch over comfortably,? Kejriwal said.
The CM added that during the first year in the office, their government "doubled the education budget", which now stood at Rs 14,000 crore.
Commenting on the happiness curriculum, Kejriwal said, "Love for one's country is the most important outcome of our education system. Why Manish Sisodia has started the happiness curriculum? It is to inculcate a value system in you."
The CM also praised efforts made by schoolteachers, saying the entire country was asking from which stuff they were made of as they were able to achieve such a result.
He said earlier people felt that problems of government schools could not be fixed and these should be closed.
"Corporates used to come and say that they would run the schools under the corporate social responsibility. Why should our children get education through charity when it's their birth right? Delhi's teachers have proved that government schools can be better than private schools and I am very proud of all of you," he said in his concluding remarks.
After congratulating the students and teachers, Sisodia highlighted his department's work to reform Delhi's government schools.
"The government has worked on improving the infrastructure and teacher training. We are working to make adequate arrangements to providing free coaching to students for competitive exams like NEET and JEE," Sisodia said during his interaction with children.
Sisodia reiterated his government's stance and said, "No student in Delhi should face any problem in studies due to lack of money. The Delhi government will arrange it for them. We will be the guarantor and you will get a loan for your studies. We do not want even a single student to miss any opportunity due it.”