NIOS junks Arvind Kejriwal’s claim of first virtual school

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By Rahul Kumar Dubey

New Delhi, September 1: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recently launched a virtual school, calling it “India’s first such platform”, and stated that students from all over country will be eligible for enrolment. Kejriwal stated during an online press conference that the Delhi Model Virtual School (DMVS) will be for grades 9-12 and will prepare kids for competitive examinations such as JEE, NEET, and CUET.

Kejriwal further hailed the school a revolutionary advance in the field of education, stating that India cannot become the world’s number one nation until every child receives the greatest possible education.

However, in response to Kejriwal’s assertion that DMVS is the country’s first virtual school, NIOS came out with a rebuttal, saying “with reference to certain media reports regarding the claims of India’s first virtual school being launched today, It is informed that the first virtual school of the country was launched by the Union Education Minister in August last year.”

The NIOS further stated that there are more than 7000 study centres are affiliated with it. Such centres are providing support in skill-based vocational courses to the learners of NIOS virtual open school.

The All-India Parents Association (AIPA) has called the Delhi Government’s virtual school a “disastrous” proposal that will additionally isolate financially weak children, stating that impoverished children will attend virtual schools while affluent children will attend regular private schools.

The body stated that every child must attend full-time normal school and that failing to do so meant receiving no education at all.

According to the National Progressive Schools’ Conference (NPSC), an organisation of over 120 private schools in Delhi, virtual schools established by Kejriwal government would “hand over school education to coaching centres on a platter”.

It shall also be noted at the same time that the Delhi government is under unceasing criticism for its unfulfilled promise of setting up schools in the national capital despite heavy claims.

According to an RTI, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which promised in its 2015 Delhi Assembly election manifesto to establish 500 new schools in the capital, has only established 63 new schools between February 2015 and May 2022.

Also, as per the data available for 838 higher secondary schools, only 279 teach science subjects and 674 offer commerce subjects to students in grades 11th and 12th, which accounts for 66 per cent of government schools not teaching science courses, while approximately 19 per cent not teaching commerce subjects in the two classes.

There was a lack of science and commerce subjects at Delhi government schools, implying that the distribution of science and commerce subjects in an “unequal way,” which cannot be justified and is unjust to the children of the region.

(Views expressed in the article solely belong to author, who is a researcher with PPRC, New Delhi)

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