Country's first virtual school launched last year by Centre, not by Delhi govt: NIOS
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday launched a virtual school, which he claimed was "India's first such platform", while announcing that students from across the country will be eligible for admission.
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), however, said the first virtual school in the country was launched last year by the Centre and not by the Delhi government.
Addressing an online press conference, Kejriwal said the Delhi Model Virtual School (DMVS) will be for classes 9-12 and also prepare students for competitive exams like JEE, NEET and CUET.
Describing the need for such a school, he said it will be a revolutionary step in the sphere of education. The school will be affiliated to the Delhi Board of School Education formed last year.
"When schools were shut during Covid, we saw schools take virtual classes, we have started the Delhi Model Virtual School based on this concept itself. Children from any corner of the country, be it a village or city, can take admission in this school," he said.
The application process for the 2022-23 academic session started from Wednesday and students can apply through www.dmvs.ac.in. Any child aged between 13 and 18 who has completed class 8 from any recognised school can apply for admission in class 9.
The school will not charge any fee and there will be an attendance tracking system in-built in the online platform used for classes.
As for the exams, students will be required to physically come to the national capital for two term-end exams. These exams will be held at the designated schools in Delhi where students can also give computer-based Tests (CBT).
"All classes will be online in our virtual school. Online classes will be recorded so that students who are unable to attend the live classes can take them in their free time."
"Every student will be assigned an ID and password using which they can attend online classes, access recorded videos, supplementary learning materials and tutorials," Arvind also said.
The school will bring along access to a huge digital library whose content will be available 24x7 and all students will be able to access it online.
"Along with regular learning in the virtual school, we will also assist students in preparing for competitive exams such as JEE and NEET in classes 11 and 12. Specialists from various sectors will be engaged specially for this," Arvind asserted.
Talking about the convenience the school will bring along, he said many parents don't want to send their daughters afar even for education and the school will help bring "high quality education to the homes of our daughters".
"Due to a lack of schools in villages, we see children opting for labour jobs instead of education; we have started the DMVS to take education even to the most disconnected lands of our country," the chief minister said.
Reiterating that India can't become the No 1 nation of the world until and unless every child is accorded the best possible standard of education, he called the school a revolutionary step in the sphere of education.
"We believe that schools should exist and that children should attend them physically; nevertheless, if for some reason, some children are unable to attend school, our virtual school will provide education to them," he said.
The AAP convener said there will be a schooling platform and every student will be given a student ID and a password so that they can login to this platform.
"This schooling platform has been created by two globally recognised organisations - Google and Schoolnet India. Teachers of this school have been specially trained to conduct virtual classes on this platform. I am completely optimistic that it will be a revolutionary move in the field of education," he stressed.
Countering Kejriwal's claim that DMVS is the country's first virtual school, NIOS said, "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."
Asked about how the virtual school will be different from NIOS and other virtual schools, a Delhi government official said, "DMVS is Delhi government's first completely virtual school, carrying hallmarks of any regular government school in the city and providing holistic education to its students."
Meanwhile, the All India Parents Association (AIPA) termed the virtual school launch as a "disastrous" idea to further marginalise the poor children.
"Poor children will go to virtual school whereas children of the rich will go to regular private schools. Every child must go to full-time regular school. Departing from it means no education at all," said AIPA president Ashok Agarwal.
The National Progressive Schools' Conference (NPSC), a body of over 120 private schools in Delhi, said virtual schools will "hand over school education to coaching centres on a platter".
However, Anshu Mital, principal of MRG School, Rohini, said the virtual school will be helpful for students who cannot get enrolled in traditional schools and attend physical classes due to lack of time, familial responsibilities, long-distance travelling or any other hindrance.