PM Modi visited the government schools in Gujarat and launched ‘Mission Schools of Excellence’ on the 19th of October 2022. Gujarat is about to poll for the upcoming state assembly election while AAP is trying to enter the state while projecting the Delhi Model of School Education.
At least two major parties contesting the Gujarat election has now taken up educational reform as one of the key election agenda. It would be interesting to see how long Modi with a bad track record of the public education system in Gujarat would be able to hold with this issue in front of one of the most talked about models of educational reform in the country, named Delhi/Kejriwal Model of educational reforms.
The Recent (2022-23) World Education Ranking of Indian Schools in India included five schools run by the Delhi government in the list of top ten schools run by the state government. Not a single school from Gujarat could make to the top 10 list of any category including residential schools. Not just Gujarat but not a single government school run by the BJP-ruled state government could make it into the list.
Even the poorest state like Bihar managed to enter into the list in the category of residential (boarding) schools. The Simultala Residential Schools from Bihar is the best schools in the category of residential schools run by any state government across the country while the same school is in the second spot in the category of all public residential schools.
In the previous year’s ranking too, four of these five Delhi government schools were among the 10 best Government schools in India. Table 1 lists out the names of these schools.
Even in the list of 10 best universities in India, there are several universities run by the Delhi government that made it into the list while there is not a single university from Gujarat in the list. The Delhi Government universities which are part of the list are Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology at 6th spot, and Delhi Technological University in 7th spot. Gujarat could not make into the list of even among the best 20 universities while National Law University, run by the Delhi government secured the 13th position.
The only school from Gujarat that could make it into the list of multiple categories of rankings is Adani Vidya Mandir in the category of Philanthropy Schools. In this category out of the top five schools, four are from BJP-ruled states (UP, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat).
Gujarat Model: Capitalo-Centric
This indicates the kind of Gujarat Model of Development or Modi Model of Development promotes the capitalist-centric model of education. Gujarat’s model of development is big corporate and capitalist-centric. Perhaps this is why the only schools made into the list is funded by India’s richest person, Gautam Adani’s Adani Group. This is in complete contrast to the model of educational development proposed and asserted by the Delhi government. Among all kinds of schools in Delhi that made it into the list of World Education Ranking the best performance was shown in the category of schools owned and run by the state government.
The trends in the recent history of education in Gujarat clearly reflect the kind of importance Modi School of Education gives to the public education system.
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The literacy ranking of Gujarat among 20 major states in 2001 was 4th which came down to 9th in the year 2011. The rank of Gujarat in terms of literacy rate for children above 6 years was 19th during the 55th round of NSSO which slipped to 21st position in the 64th round. The literacy rate for this age group in Gujarat increased by 5.8% between 1999-00 and 2007-08, while the national average was far better with a 10.1% increase.
The latest NSSO survey (75th round) surveyed from July 2017 to June 2018, clearly mentions how in terms of the availability of nearest schools in rural areas Gujarat is worst than even states like Haryana, Assam, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, etc. In the case of urban areas Gujarat is worst than even Bihar.
The latest 75th round of NSSO survey also explains how in terms of literacy Delhi is far better than Gujarat. The literacy rate of Delhi is 88.7 percent while it’s only 82.4 percent for Gujarat.
The worst is the case with higher education. In Gujarat, there is only 11.4 per cent of people complete education till higher secondary level while the national average is 11.9 percent and Delhi is at first rank with 20.5 per cent.
The same is the case with education at the graduate level. There is only 9.7 percent of Gujarati of age above 15 who completed education till graduation level while the national average is 10.6 percent and Delhi stands at the top with 24.7 percent.
The performance of Gujarat is worst than the national average in many other aspects of education including average numbers of years completed in formal education, level of current attendance, especially in higher education, persons dropped out among ever enrolled persons of age 3 to 35 years, etc. Delhi on the other hand scored highest and ranked first in all these categories.
There are many educational indicators in which the performance of Gujarat is worst than the poorest states like Bihar and Orissa. This is more true of the public education system.
Anyone interested in giving more electoral preference to a better public education system would certainly be in a position to at least not choose the Gujarat model of the education system for their children. There were many other models of the education system which claim to be in a better position including the Delhi model of the public education system and the Kerala model of the education system. Indian voters need to give more importance to the kind of education model their legislators represents while they vote for them.