Delhi is all set to become the first state in the country to start teacher recruitment as mandated by the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
The education department has moved a proposal to recruit 10,000 teachers — one of the largest-ever recruitment at one go — in order to bring the teacher student ratio down to 1:35 as required in the Act. Though on paper Delhi’s ratio is already there, according to education minister Arvinder Singh, that includes teachers of music and physical education, which means effectively in the classroom that is not the ratio. ‘‘The real ratio stands at 40:1, which is the best in the country but we want to get better. The recruitment file is at present with the finance department. Though as per RTE the Centre will pay 50% of the salaries of these teachers, we are undertaking a huge spending exercise. This should be placed in the cabinet by next week hopefully.’’
There are also plans to set up new schools — 50 of them in the next two to three years to ensure that the number of students per school which has climbed from 688 in 1996 to 715 in 2009 is effectively brought down.
The Delhi government at present has 48,000 teachers and in 2009 the total number of enrolments in Delhi government schools stood at 13 lakh, up 5 lakh in the last six years. ‘‘The rise has been phenomenal but let’s be practical, this is not really the rate at which Delhi’s population has increased. It is simply that dropout rate has gone down because of our no retention policy and also there are large numbers of students who come to our schools from surrounding areas. There have also been cases of students actually opting out of public schools to study in our schools,’’ Singh said.
He could not comment offhand on the financial implications of the plan but said that given the elaborate plans that the department is drawing up for the next few years, the total budgetary spend on education in the city which already stands at a fairly high 10% will go up to 15%. ‘‘It is a priority area for us,’’ he said.
With the implementation of RTE, however, he harbours hopes that the pressure may ease off a bit from government schools too because the no-retention policy that the Delhi government has already adopted will then be extended to public schools as well.