Questions loom over Delhi govt's 'Chunauti 2018' programme, after 98% students fail Class X exams

The Delhi government's ambitious reform programme, titled 'Chunauti 2018', faces a major setback in its very first year, with over 60,000 students failing to clear their Class X exams. They were part of 62,000 students who switched to the distance education mode of learning.

The state government had launched the 'Chunauti 2018' programme last year to curb school drop-out rates, and it's meant to help weaker students clear their Class X exams by the year 2018.

After results were announced, and the dismal passing percentages registered by Patrachar Vidyalaya — the school of distance learning — became news, the Delhi government maintained its silence. Sources revealed that nearly 98 percent of the students who failed had migrated from regular schools in the academic year 2016-17 in order to take advantage of the government's Chunauti 2018 scheme.

Delhi state education minister Manish Sisodia. PTI file image

Delhi state education minister Manish Sisodia. PTI file image

"We are still in the process of analysing the results. But the passing percentage can be estimated around 2.01 percent," said a source in the Patrachar Vidyalaya. The source added that 62,000 students had migrated to Class 10 of the school last year. This was done to curb drop-out rates and improve passing percentages, a goal set by the Chunauti-2018 programme.

Patrachar Vidyalaya, the distance education school under the Directorate of Education, has a history of dismal passing percentage. As per official records, in the year 2011-12, a mere 3 percent of students from the CBSE-affiliated school passed their Class X exams. This rose to 3.14 percent the next year, and then fell to 2.07 percent.

The school, from which 500-700 students usually give Class X exams, received sudden attention last year, after the government decided to migrate the huge number of "weaker students" from regular government schools.

The dismal passing percentage recorded among these students has left many areas in Delhi without even a single student who has passed Class X in distance learning mode this year. "In Shahadara area, nearly 70 students switched to Patrachar Vidyalaya. But they all failed," said social activist Ashok Agawal.

One such girl is Sakina Begum, a student of Gandhi Memorial senior secondary school. Sakina's mother Sahana Begum told Firstpost they feel "cheated", and called it "government apathy". "My daughter was switched to Patrachar Vidyalaya. I was told that she would be allowed to sit for Class X exams, even though she had failed in Class IX. But after she failed again, we understand that the government showed us the wrong path," Sahana said.

In a bid to ease out weaker students from the schools, the 'Chunauti-2018' programme allowed the ones who failed in Class IX to sit for their Class X exams through Patrachar Vidyalaya. "Under this scheme, the government was to give the option to children who couldn't clear Class IX to appear for Class X from Patrachar Vidyalaya," the policy said.

And to ensure these students find it easier to pass, they were also given some additional flexibility. "They would have the option of dropping subjects like Mathematics," the policy further added.

But even this hasn't worked, with as many as 26,000 students failing in Science.

Initially, 56,077 students were to be transferred to the distance learning mode of education, but this was eventually brought up to 62,000.

The dismal passing percentages will be seen as an indictment of the state education department. "The decision to migrate students to this programme has not only proven to be a massive blunder, but it has also been counter-productive. Almost all the students who migrated have failed," said Ashok Agarwal.

Firstpost wrote to state education minister Manish Sisodia using the 'Write to Minister' option on the department's website, asking about the passing percentage. This was two days ago, but no response has been forthcoming.

Firstpost also texted Soumya Gupta, the department's director, after she repeatedly failed to respond to the calls made to her. But even these yielded no reaction.

Experts, however, have blamed the system itself, and said there are deepset flaws in it. "How did the government expect to increase the passing percentage, by merely switching the failed students to distance learning mode?" asked Agarwal.

"These students will be taught by the usual teachers in our schools and they will be provided with all usual benefits like books, uniforms etc (for which they are eligible as per official rules). They will participate in all regular cultural and sports activities of the schools. However, they will appear in Class IX CBSE exam 2017 through the Patrachar Vidyalaya of this directorate and not through the school where they are being given classes," the policy document said.

But Agarwal said that these classes were just sitting arrangements, and not compulsory as are held in regular schools. He said that failed students from different areas in Delhi have decided to sit in protest at Jantar Mantar on Sunday at 11 am. "We demand the government arrange re-exams for students who failed. The government should also admit them in Class XI if they pass the re-exam," he added.

Updated Date: Jun 11, 2017 13:02 PM

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