Manish Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal during the press conference today
Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing the media | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Months ahead of the Delhi assembly elections, Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi government is being accused of “using school children as props” to get votes from their parents.

But the undeterred Aam Aadmi Party government has planned yet another sop for the students — Deputy CM and education minister Manish Sisodia announced Saturday that the government would pay CBSE exam fees for meritorious students and would also arrange for NEET and JEE coaching.

At an event to honour the unprecedented class 12 results in the national capital, Kejriwal and Sisodia revealed that the government would also arrange for graduate students to get coaching for exams like UPSC.

Sisodia also announced and tweeted that the scholarship for students scoring 80 per cent and above is to be increased to Rs 2,500, while the rider on students’ family incomes will also be removed.

“The government has worked on improving schools, infrastructure and teacher training, and the results are for all to see. Going forward, we are working on making adequate arrangements for students after passing out as well,” Sisodia told the youth at the interaction.

“We are working on providing free coaching to students for competitive exams like NEET, JEE, and eventually also for post-graduate competitive exams for employment like UPSC and others.”

In 2018, Kejriwal’s AAP government had made education free till class 12. Before that, government schools in Delhi provided free education up to Class 8, with students of classes 9 to 12 paying a fee of Rs 20 a month.

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The event saw about 1,000 students and their families in attendance, along with teachers and school principals.


Also read: Under Arvind Kejriwal govt, enrolment & pass percentage have fallen in Delhi govt schools


Kejriwal pats his govt on the back

Kejriwal addressed the gathering, congratulating the students, their teachers and parents, and also patting his government on the back for changing the state of Delhi’s government schools.

“When I became chief minister, I used to get requests every day for getting children admitted into Delhi’s big private schools. Today, a majority of requests I receive are for admission into government schools,” Kejriwal said.

“Four-five years ago, the condition of our schools was so poor that children had an inferiority complex about studying in government schools. Today, the situation has changed so much that children are proud to be studying in government schools.

“Manish ji and I come from the same kind of background as all of you do. We are not politicians. We don’t know how to do politics. Until some years ago, we worked in NGOs, in small communities. It was our dream that every child born in this country must get high quality education, regardless of whether they’re born in a poor family or rich.

“In 70 years, we had built a system where the poor sent their children to government schools and the rich to private schools. On the one hand, the condition of government schools deteriorated, and on the other, the private schools were becoming increasingly arbitrary and exploitative. When we started working on schools, we set ourselves a goal that we will make government schools good enough for parents of children studying in private schools to be comfortable to switch.”


Also read: Forget free pass, DTC will have just 204 buses by 2025 as Kejriwal hasn’t bought any


Students share their thoughts

Sisodia also invited students to share their thoughts and experiences over the last four or five years.

Apart from positive feedback about improved infrastructure, the students also spoke about how extra classes for class 12 helped them.

One girl remarked: “Earlier, toilets weren’t clean, so we could never use them. Drinking water was also never available in our school. Now toilets are very clean and our school has a functional water cooler.”

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