Only one-third of schools under the Delhi government are teaching science subjects to students in classes 11 and 12, a reply to an RTI query has revealed.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that had in its 2015 Delhi Assembly election manifesto promised to build 500 new schools in the city has opened just 63 new schools between February 2015 and May 2022, according to the RTI.
The Education Department of the Delhi government gave the information in response to an application filed under the Right To Information (RTI) Act on behalf of PTI. The RTI sought information on the number of Delhi government schools teaching science and commerce subjects in classes 11 and 12 as well as the number of new schools opened by the government between February 2015 and May 2022 in the city.
While the information related to 326 schools was obtained through the RTI application, the data of other schools was collected from the website of the Directorate of Education. A total of 838 higher secondary schools have data available, out of which only 279 schools teach science subjects and 674 schools offer commerce subjects to students of classes 11 and 12. That is, about 66 per cent of the government schools in the city do not teach science subjects while about 19 per cent do not teach commerce subjects in the two classes.
The total number of schools under the Delhi government is 1,047, including secondary and middle schools. According to the reply, the condition of schools in the central district in the national capital is the worst, with only four of the 31 higher secondary schools teaching science and 10 schools teaching commerce subjects
A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court in 2017 over non-availability of science and commerce subjects in Delhi government schools, which said that the allocation of subjects of science and commerce has been done in an ”unequal manner”, which cannot be justified and it is unfair to the students of the area.
Advocate Yusuf Naki, who filed the petition, said, On my petition, the Delhi High Court had issued notice to the Delhi government, in response to which the government had filed an affidavit, saying that it would start teaching science and commerce subjects in about 50 schools. Thereafter, the court disposed of the petition.”
According to Naki, the government had then said in its reply that science subjects were taught in 291 government schools. An education department official, who did not wishes to be named, told PTI, To start teaching science subjects in classes 11 and 12, a school needs infrastructure and the interest of the children.
The students need rooms to sit. Apart from this, there should also be laboratories for subjects like physics, chemistry and biology. An education department official, who did not wishes to be named, told PTI, To start teaching science subjects in classes 11 and 12, a school needs infrastructure and the interest of the children.
If the number of students taking science-related subjects is such that at least one section is formed, then the schools send the file to the planning branch, which is approved and other requirements are met, the official said.
According to a principal of a Delhi government school, Besides the laboratory, rooms and teachers, it is also necessary that if a child has to study science and commerce subjects in class 11, then in class 10, he/she should have secured at least 55 per cent marks and 50 per cent marks each in science, maths and English.
Children are not getting enough marks to get science subjects. According to a principal of a Delhi government school, Besides the laboratory, rooms and teachers, it is also necessary that if a child has to study science and commerce subjects in class 11, then in class 10, he/she should have secured at least 55 per cent marks and 50 per cent marks each in science, maths and English.
The principal, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, The children are neither getting marks to take science subjects nor are they encouraged to take science subjects. J V Shanmukha Kumar, professor of chemistry at the KL Deemed-to-be University, said if children do not study science subjects in higher secondary classes, the doors to medical and engineering fields will be closed for them.
Students will also not be able to make a career in the field of technology or environment, while in future there will be more jobs in these fields. Therefore, there is a need to encourage children to pursue science subjects at the higher secondary level, he said.
Professor Lavanya Sivapurapu of the university said, Science is essential for research and innovation. There is a great need for engineers and the COVID-19 pandemic has proved that India is unprepared to deal with emergency medical situations. We need experts in the fields of medicine, para medical, and radiology. To go into these fields, one needs to study science subjects in class 11 and 12, Sivapurapu said.