Delhi’s Education Revolution: Teachers, agency and inclusion
By CEID Blogger, on 4 October 2022
As part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agenda, governments worldwide have committed to delivering inclusive and equitable high-quality education for all children. India has been no exception. India’s Right to Education Act (RTE) has ensured a quantitative expansion so that all eligible schoolgoing students are brought within the formal education system at the elementary/primary education level . However, government schools continue to suffer from high dropout and low retention rates, leading to questions surrounding the implementation of the SDG agenda. Most research into Indian government schools has also concluded that government education provision is of poor quality. These problems are compounded by an exodus of the middle and lower-middle classes from government schools into private provision. Anecdotal evidence shows that even teachers teaching at government schools often choose a private alternative for their children.
Together with Dr Kusha Anand, CEID’s Marie Lall has just published a book on education policy and practice in Delhi government schools that critically examines these dynamics. The open access volume focuses on the past 6 years, during which Delhi schools have experienced major reforms led by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, which was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2020 on the basis of improved public service provision. Anand and Lall’s book, Delhi’s Education Revolution, explores in depth the connections between the AAP’s policy and practice in this area. The book is available for download free here.
Delhi’s Education Revolution is a rather unique book in that it is based on the voices of 110 Delhi teachers who reflected on their classroom practice and critically discussed how far the changes have indeed improved education for all children, no matter what background they are from. The book aims to show that listening to stakeholder voices is key for the continued success of reform processes. It argues that the AAP reforms have largely delivered higher quality and more appropriate education for a wide section of society. However there have been costs to teachers’ lives and practice, and the children from the poorest sections of society receive a reduced level of education through the practice of setting, in order to improve a school’s and a city’s overall achievement score. The book critically evaluates the AAP government’s education policy through the eyes of those most affected by the changes – the teachers.