Letter of 23.06.2004

As per a news report in Daily Pioneer, Union and Delhi government are urging one another to urge students to enroll, while failing to create according to statutory DMP equal access schooling opportunities, and references to the NDA Bill also continue. Letter to Secretary MoHRD...

Secretary, Ministry of HRD, GoI...

Sub: National Common Minimum Programme Opportunities and Imperatives – Common School System in Delhi (note enclosed)

Ref: HRD Minister ask Delhi Govt to conduct survey1, The Pioneer, 23.06.04 and my letters of 10.11.03 and 09.12.03 about the NDA education Bill drafts

Dear Madam / Sir,

  1. The news item under reference mentions some things that are inconsistent with other facts, as follows, and I seek clarification:
    • Union HRD Minister has asked Delhi Government to conduct a survey of children aged 6 to 14 years deprived of free and compulsory education, even as, according to news reports in September 20032, such a survey has already been conducted by Delhi government fairly recently.
    • There are an estimated 61.5 thousand such children in the capital, even as the survey by Delhi government had reportedly found nearly 850 thousands.
    • Union Minister has urged in letter of 28.05.04 Delhi Chief Minister to identify such children and take steps to provide them education whereupon she has directed a special drive from 01.07.04 and suggested Central Government funds for awareness campaign, even as Delhi government is duty bound by law and court orders to approach its Constitutional obligation for universalizing education in more optimal and holistic ways.
  2. The news item also mentions modified Education Bill, 2004. In case this refers to the third version (of 08.01.04) of the NDA Bill, I also seek to know why the following were rejected:
    • my suggestions for overall architecture, etc, of the Bill for it to be based on the Common School System principle (sent to JS HRD-EE vide letter of 09.12.03)
    • my ‘objection’ (sent apropos first and second drafts vide letters of 10.11.03 and 09.12.03) that s.14 of first / s.31 of second / s.35 of third version of the NDA Bill (requiring maximum of 20% free seats for BPL students) is in conflict with Delhi Development Act, 1957, and pre-requires modification of Delhi Master Plan (statutory document approved by Parliament) by due process of s.11A of DD Act, inclusive of Public Notice. (Delhi Master Plan requires a Common School System and free seats as and if required in the overall schema for that).
  3. Lastly, I wish to place on record that I read in UPA’s Common Minimum Programme a rejection of NDA’s Bill and opportunities for the historic commitment to a Common School System, especially in Delhi, as set out in the enclosed note. I request, besides comment on my note, the following clarifications, with urgency due to possible implications for budget proposals for school education:
    • If Delhi government’s propensity to implement provisions of the NDA Bill in disregard of the DD Act (cf, its order of 27.04.04 about free seats to private schools, reiterated in Public Notice on 09.06.04) bears any relation to what MoHRD has asked / urged it to do.
    • Details of the National Commission for Education for allocating resources and monitoring programs, now that resource commitments are on course and at least Delhi government has reportedly sought central funds (for what is arguably sub-optimal expenditure).

Thanking you and looking forward to hearing from you,

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner ...

encl. note3, as above, along with covering letter4

cc: as per covering letter of 16.06.04; mailing-lists

  • 1. HRD Minister ask Delhi Govt to conduct survey
  • 2. More than 8 lakh children not enrolled in school: Survey
    Asian Age, 09.09.2003

    By Our Correspondent

    New Delhi, Sept. 8: As the world celebrated International Literacy Day on Monday, the capital still has at least 8.48 lakh children in the age group of 0-14 who are not enrolled in schools, according to a survey presented by the state education director Rajendra Kumar.

    Out of total population of 29.68 lakh children in the age group of 0-14 in the capital, only 21.4 lakh were enrolled in school leaving 29 per cent of the children in this age group out of school. This fact has come to the light in a survey conducted under universilisation of elementary education mission by the state education department of the Delhi government.

    While the highest rate of students not enrolled in this age group were in Northwest district with 28 per cent, it was followed by upscale South district with localities like Defence Colony and Hauz Khas with 17 per cent of children out of school, the survey said.

    The lowest was in New Delhi district with one per cent not enrolled there, the survey said.

    Talking to the reporters, the Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said: "It is not the final data but it is fairly good indicator of the situation in the national capital."

    "Now the education department of the Delhi government will do its best to improve the condition," she said. The chief minister further said: "The plan for carrying out these activities in a phased manner is under preparation. This will ensure there is no sudden strain on the school education system and our children are not deprived of quality learning at any point in time."

    "The education department in association with the MCD will work hard to improve the quality of education in the city also," she said on a very optimistic note.

  • 3. National Common Minimum Programme: opportunities and imperatives – Common School System in Delhi
    Note on DMP common school system imperatives for NCMP and 86th Amendment opportunities arising from recent / ongoing court matters about schools in Delhi, sent on 16.06.04 to authorities and others.

  • 4. NCMP-DMP note - covering letter