Only a 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), which in its 2015 Delhi Assembly election manifesto promised to build 500 new schools in the city, has opened only 63 new schools between February 2015 and May 2022, according to the RTI .
The Delhi government’s Education Department gave the information in response to a request filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The RTI sought information on the number of government schools in Delhi offering 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 information related to 326 centers was obtained through the RTI application, data for other centers was collected from the Directorate of Education website.
A total of 838 secondary schools have data, of which only 279 schools offer science subjects and 674 schools offer commerce subjects to students in classes 11 and 12.
That is, about 66 percent of city government schools do not teach science subjects while about 19 percent do not teach commerce subjects in both classes.
The total number of schools under the Government of Delhi is 1,047, including middle and high schools.
According to the response, the situation of schools in the central district of the national capital is the worst, with only four out of 31 higher secondary schools teaching science and 10 schools teaching commerce subjects.
In 2017, a public interest litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court over the non-availability of science and commerce subjects in Delhi government schools, which said that the allocation of science and commerce subjects has done “unevenly”, which cannot be. be justified and is unfair to the students in the area.
Advocate Yusuf Naki, who filed the petition, said, “On my petition, the Delhi High Court had issued a notice to the Delhi government, in response to which the government had filed an affidavit, saying that it would start to teach science and commerce subjects in about 50 schools. The court then disposed of the petition.” According to Naki, the government had said in its reply that science subjects were taught in 291 government schools.
An education department official, who did not want to be named, told PTI, “To start teaching science subjects in class 11 and 12, a school needs infrastructure and the interest of children. Students need rooms to sit in. Apart from that, there should also be labs for subjects like physics, chemistry and biology.”
“If the number of students taking science-related subjects is such that at least one section is formed, the school centers send the file to the planning delegation, which is approved and other requirements are met,” said the civil servant
According to a principal of a government school in Delhi, “Apart from the laboratory, halls and teachers, it is also necessary that if a child has to study science and commerce subjects in class 11, in class 10, he should to have achieved 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.” The principal, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “Kids are not getting marks for science subjects nor are they encouraged to take science subjects.”
JV Shanmukha Kumar, professor of chemistry at KL Deemed-to-be University, said if children do not study science subjects in higher secondary classes, doors to medical and engineering fields will be closed to them.
“Students will also not be able to pursue a career in the field of technology or the environment, while in the future there will be more jobs in these fields. Therefore, children should be encouraged to take science subjects in secondary school,” he said.
The university’s Professor Lavanya Sivapurapu said, “Science is essential for research and innovation. There is a huge need for engineers and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that India is not ready to cope to emergency medical situations”. “We need experts in the fields of medicine, paramedicine and radiology. To enter these fields, you need to study science in classes 11 and 12,” Sivapurapu said.