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Sisodia blames low student-teacher ratio at primary level on BJP-run MCD schools

Low Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) in Delhi’s primary level of schooling, as seen in the UDISE Plus 2019-2020 report, can largely be attributed to the municipal corporations, alleged Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday. The BJP, however, claimed teacher recruitment is low as the Delhi government is withholding funds.

The UDISE or the Unified District Information System for Education Plus report by the Union Ministry of Education contains information from more than 15 lakh schools covering nearly 26.5 crore students across the country.

Among the various data sets presented in the report are those of Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTR) at various levels of education in different sets. PTR refers to the number of students for each teacher, arrived at by dividing the total number of teachers to each student. According to the Right to Education Act 2009, the pupil teacher ratio should be 30:1 — or one teacher for every 30 students — at the primary level and 35:1 at the upper primary level.

While Delhi performs well in most indicators in the report, it has one of the weakest pupil teacher ratios at the primary level. At 32.7:1 at the primary level, it has a better ratio than only Bihar which has a ratio of 55.4:1.

The report shows that there are 18,11,723 children enrolled in Delhi schools at the primary level and 55,486 teachers for them.

The city has a PTR of 29.3:1 at the upper primary level — which is the highest in the country — and 27.6:1 at the secondary level, and 17.9:1 at the secondary level.

In a press conference on Sunday, Sisodia alleged that these numbers can be attributed to the functioning of the municipal corporations, which are responsible for providing primary education.

“BJP government at the Centre has corroborated that BJP-ruled MCDs have made a mess of the MCD schools. The mismanagement is so stark that MCD schools are considered the worst in the country. This is tarnishing the image of Delhi. BJP, with its poor governance and incompetence in MCDs, has put the future of lakhs of children at risk,” he said.

He went on to claim that 98% of the schools run by the Delhi government have PTRs in compliance with the mandate of the RTE Act while 58% of East MCD schools, 46% of North MCD schools and 39% of South MCD schools do not. Data shared by him showed that 21 Delhi government schools and 753 MCD school do not meet the RTE’s requirement.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor hit out at Sisodia’s remarks, alleging that teacher recruitment is low in MCD schools because of lack of disbursal of funds by the Delhi government.

“MCDs cater to children from financially crippled sections of the society and with every passing year, the number of students in MCD schools has been rising. Contrary to this, the number of students in Delhi government schools has been going down every year. This clearly shows which schools are performing better… As far as low PTR is concerned, the Delhi government is withholding funds of MCDs; as a result, teacher recruitment is suffering. Despite lack of strength, MCD teachers teach well,” he claimed.

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