New education bills to give more power to Delhi Government

The winter session of Delhi Assembly will kick-start from Wednesday for which the state government has lined up six bills. The second session of the Sixth Legislative Assembly, which starts at 2 PM, will come to an end on November 28. The six bills that have been approved by the Delhi Cabinet to be introduced includes Code of Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, Delhi School Education Amendment Bill and Minimum Wages Amendment Bill.

arvind kejriwal and manish sisodia at press conference
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (Left) and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia (Right) briefing the media

Before the forthcoming Legislative Assembly session begins, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia conducted a press conference to brief the Delhiites and other interested people about various education bills whether new and amendments to previous ones.

Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in the opposition in the state, said it will try to corner the ruling AAP government over various issues, including the demand for introduction of Jan Lokpal Bill. Further during this time Delhi Congress, under the leadership of Ajay Maken, is all set to hold a demonstration in front of Vidhan Sabha on the very first day of the session to protest against AAP government’s failure to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Delhi Government is planning drop Section 10(1) of the Delhi School Education Act and Rules (1973) that requires private schools to pay teachers on par with government ones. Kejriwal said, “The admission process was plagued by problems. We are now defining capitation fees and a penalty has been prescribed for whoever takes capitation fees directly or indirectly.” All the amendments discussed below will be specified in separate notifications such that they ‘can be tweaked’ from time to time.

Read here : Arvind Kejriwal’s vision for education

Give Donations and Pay the Fine Too

The reason behind the amendment of the DSEAR is to give the power to government to take decisions regarding the nursery admission guidelines, to ‘stop screening’ as personal interviews – and making collection of capitation fees punishable with fines. The same will not be applicable with nursery admission criteria and will likely be implemented only in the next round.

Punya Salila Srivastava, Education Secretary informed that the fines might range from 5 lakh or 10 times the amount charges, whichever is higher. After the amendment the government will have the right to decide guidelines and make the point on screening and donations more forcefully. The government will have to hit the nail hard to come to the decision of selection criteria to be adopted. Highest possibility is that the same will not be applicable in the upcoming academic session. The ministers also said that the EWS admission process will be moved online.

Fee Charged by the Schools

The main reason for doing away with Section 10 (1) of the DSEAR is that the certain provisions in state and central acts couldn’t be fully implemented. Government is of the view that the public have an inherent right to start fee-charging schools that violate laws from the start. Apparently, managements of these schools are being forced into corruption by the law.

Teachers’ Salary

CM Kejriwal said, “Teachers will have to be paid minimum wages for skilled labour – so those being paid Rs. 3,000-4,000 will now get Rs. 12-13,000 and we’ll introduce provision through rules or notifications that’ll require schools to pay a certain percentage of their income as salaries. They will not have to sign against amounts they are not being paid.”

Other Amendments

Indeed the only part that has been retained from the first amendment drafts forwarded in June this year, the forthcoming one will give the DoE far more competition. Grading system has been adopted to penalize the school management for violating provisions of the DSEAR. In this the highest penalty is imprisonment of three years and a fine of Rs. 2 lakh. The director can even suspend admission in school. This is an extreme punishment, like a Brahmastra, that affects kids and teachers as well as compared to the only weapon the DoE wielded was withdrawal of recognition.

Also read : HRD Ministry interrogates Delhi Schools on their fee structure and other issues

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