The number of students in Delhi government schools in the current academic year has decreased by more than 30,000 as compared to the previous session, according to an RTI reply.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of students in government schools in 2022-23 academic session was 17,89,385, while this academic year it decreased to 17,58,986, which is 30,399 less than the previous session.
The Directorate of Education (DoE), Delhi, has provided this information in response to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
There are 1,050 Delhi government schools and 37 'Dr BR Ambedkar Schools of Specialised Excellence’ in the national capital.
According to the information received from the DoE, there has been a decline in the number of children in government schools in all districts and areas except north west A and central Delhi.
The number of students in government schools located in north west A in 2023-24 is 1,87,596, while in 2022-23 it was 1,81,450. Similarly, the number of students in central Delhi’s government schools increased to 28,922 in the current academic year from 27,580 in 2022-23.
An official of the DoE, seeking anonymity, said, "There were more admissions in government schools of Delhi during the pandemic. But as the situation became normal, some students again moved to private schools." He said that "failure" of some students in exams is also a reason behind the decline in their numbers.
In the last four years, the number of students in government schools in the academic session 2019-20 was 15,05,525, which increased during the pandemic period to 16,28,744 in 2020-21; 17,68,911 in 2021-22 and 17,89,385 in 2022-23, the RTI response stated.
According to the RTI response, the number of science stream students in class 12 in 2022-23 was 21,285, which increased to 21,465 in 2023-24. However, the number of commerce stream students in 2023-24 decreased to 26,721 from 33,006 in 2022-23.
The number of students studying arts subjects declined drastically from 1,74,419 in 2022-23 to 1,06,785 in 2023-24. This is even less than the number of students in the academic session 2020-21, the RTI reply said.
Dr Himanshu Gupta, Director of DoE, could not be contacted for his comment despite repeated attempts.
No response was received from Delhi Education Minister Atishi as well.
The All India Parents Association (AIPA) said the biggest reason behind the decrease in the number of children in government schools of Delhi is the poor education system.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families enrolled their children in government schools instead of private ones, but later they realised that the "standard of education in government schools was not as claimed", AIPA president and senior advocate Ashok Aggarwal said.
"There are many problems in government schools like poor quality of education, shortage of regular teachers and lack of basic facilities, due to which many children have left government schools and turned to private schools again," Aggarwal told PTI.
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