NEW DELHI/ GUJARAT: AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal announced his ‘Shiksha Guarantee’ for Gujarat today. The AAP Convenor made the announcement during a Town Hall program in Bhuj, Gujarat where he announced that when AAP’s Government is formed, every child will get excellent education for free in Gujarat. Notably, education is one of AAP’s strongest agendas in both elections and governance.
The party has been widely successful in shifting the political narrative of the country to issues like education and healthcare by transforming the sectors through its state governments.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, “AAP will develop new government schools on a large scale as well as make existing government schools better, we will beat private schools of Gujarat in quality like we did in Delhi.
AAP’s Government will get extra fees charged by private schools returned by getting all private schools audited; private schools will not be able to increase fees without the government’s permission. AAP’s Government will regularise all contractual teachers, fill vacant posts and hire more teachers on a large scale. No teacher will be given any extra duties; all woes of Vidya Sahayaks will be resolved. Government schools in Gujarat are in a terrible condition, just like those across the whole country, these people have ruined the education system in the whole country.
More than half of private schools belong to politicians, which is why these people do not act against private schools. We have proven how government schools can be transformed in Delhi, the transformation of government schools has started in Punjab too. If we can transform the future of 18 lakh children of government schools in Delhi, then we can transform the future of 53 lakh children of government schools of Gujarat as well. If we want India to become number one country in the world, then we will have to fix the education system first. When the children of the poor start becoming doctors-engineers and poverty is alleviated, then only can India become a rich country.”
AAP National Convenor said, “I received a lot of questions today and I will answer all of them here. There was a question that Delhi is the national capital and hence, it is easier to build schools there. But let me tell you that Delhi’s conditions in 2015 before we came to power were as bad as that of Today’s Gujarat. Schools in Delhi were in as terrible condition as the schools in Gujarat today. In 70 years, the BJP and Congress did not do any work and all the issues faced by people of Delhi were left unaddressed. It is us who have done it. We know how to fix the issues. If we have brought progress in Delhi, we can bring progress in Gujarat as well. People need not worry anymore.
He continued, “The BJP and Congress have completely destroyed the careers of crores of youth of Gujarat. We have come here to undo the damage they have done. And it is the sole reason behind the foundation of Aam Aadmi Party. If the BJP and Congress would have done even iota of work, there was no need to form the AAP. I am just like your people and previously, I had a regular job and used to lead a normal life. There was no need to roam around if the BJP and Congress were competent enough to do any work. The people were fed up with them and they got united to form the AAP.”
He said, “Another major concern raised today was allotting non-teaching duties to teachers which is absolutely wrong and unacceptable. We have put a complete full stop on it in Delhi and Punjab. No teacher will be assigned any other duty except teaching. In our country, the BJP and Congress have made a huge mess of the education system. A middle-class family does not have any choice but to send their children to a private school. And there is a private school mafia which is looting the parents. There are a few exceptions and some of the private schools are good but in general, in the name of uniform, books, development fee, picnic fee, library fee and what not. They hike the fee every year arbitrarily which is absolutely ridiculous.
The government does not take any action. I have been told that there is a fee committee constituted by the government to control the fee hike. The fee committee works opposite to its objective. The private school keeps on hiking the fee and they keep on approving the same. Private schools are behaving like a mafia and the government has failed to put a leash on them.”
The AAP National Convenor said, “Parents only want their children to get quality education so that they could have a respectable job in future. It is very hard to get admissions in private schools and because of this, no parent can raise their voice against this attitude of the school mafia. Parents know if they do that, they will rusticate their child and they have been enslaved by the private schools against their wishes. All the previous governments took a cut from the huge profit made by private schools. What’s more bizarre is that more than half of the private schools are owned by politicians sitting in power. As a result, no action is taken against them. It is a big reason of worry for people of Gujarat. 44 lakh children study in private schools in Gujarat and 53 lakh children study in government schools. And we are well aware of the pathetic conditions of government schools. Only the poor who do not have money send their children to government schools because they do not have a choice. They do not have money to arrange for food and hence they can only think of sending their children to government schools.”
He asserted, “The system of government schools is in an abysmal state and this is not limited to Gujarat but it is the reality of the entire country. The BJP and Congress have made a complete mess in the entire country. If we want India to become no. 1 country of the world, a ‘Vishwaguru’, a developed country, it is not going to happen through flowery speeches. First of all, we have to transform school education in the entire country. It is impossible to make India no. 1 country in the world without fixing the issues of the education sector. We all want India to be rich and developed and that is only possible when every Indian becomes rich. It is not possible that India becomes rich and developed while its citizens remain poor. Vice versa is also not possible that every Indian becomes rich while India remains undeveloped. I want to see every poor become rich.”
He added, “Let me give you an example. We have transformed education in Delhi and now we have excellent government schools. Some time ago, around 30-40 journalists flew to Delhi to expose me. They had an issue with me coming to Gujarat and speaking about the reality of transformation of government schools and hospitals in Delhi. They travelled extensively and were very happy to see the ground reality. When they met me, they said that your rivals can say whatever they want but we have to agree that you have done remarkable work to transform the government schools and hospitals in Delhi. The students studying in government schools of Delhi belong to poor families and now the middle-class families are also sending their children to government schools. Children of rickshaw-wallas and labourers are getting admission in prestigious engineering and medical colleges.”
“Kushal Garg, a student of grade 12, is a son of a carpenter who earned hardly Rs 8-10 thousand per month. Six or Seven years ago, Kushal said that he couldn’t even think of having any future because the conditions of Delhi government schools were pathetic. But today, after his 12th, Kushal got into the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and he will become a doctor. It is extremely hard to get admission there and children with all the resources do not get admission because the competition is very high. But, a carpenter’s son got admission there to become a doctor. It is a very big thing. When he will enter into his profession, his starting salary will be a minimum of Rs 3-4 lakhs. His father earns Rs 8-10 thousand and now his family will not remain poor anymore. He will change the fortune of his family. Another student, Somvik Gaur is a son of a plumber and his father earns hardly Rs 8-10 thousand per month. He too couldn’t think 6-7 years ago that he could become an engineer or a doctor. But today Somvik got enrolled in IIT in the Computer Science branch. I have also studied at IIT and even I could not get admission in Computer Science branch. Till now, the poor could not even dream of making their children doctors and engineers. When such students achieve such great heights in their career, then only they can eradicate the poverty of their families. And when that happens, India will become rich and developed,” he continued.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, “There are 17 crore children who go to government schools in India and their future is in the dark. We have given a bright future to 18 lakh students of Delhi. If we have made it possible, the same can be done for 17 crore children in the entire country. 53 lakh children of Gujarat can also have a bright future. If we transform the government schools in Gujarat, there will be immense prosperity among the families in Gujarat within a single generation. This change will hardly take a few years. The student will write their destiny with their own hands and change the fortune of their parents. This is how India will progress and become a developed country. Gujarat will also progress this way. Other political parties only know how to make flowery speeches but they do not even do an iota of work.”
He continued, “We have completely overhauled two-three things in Delhi. First is providing excellent education to the children. Government schools have improved to an extent that over 4 lakhs students have taken transfer from private schools to government schools within the past few years. Government schools had a passing percentage of 99.7% in this years’ board examination. Secondly, the private schools were behaving like a mafia and we have put a leash on them. They are not allowed to hike their fees in Delhi. We conducted an audit of all the private schools and you will be shocked to hear that some schools have an FD worth Rs 30 crores and some had an FD worth Rs 40 crores. They charge extravagant fees for students and put the amount collected into an FD. This is illegal and we stopped the private schools from doing this. We directed them to withdraw the FD and return the fees of the students. This was unprecedented as it happened for the first time in the country. The money was transferred back to the bank accounts of the parents on the grounds that excessive fees were charged from them which needs to be returned. We will do the same in Gujarat.”
He added, “I am announcing five guarantees for Gujarat regarding education. First, every child who is born in Gujarat will get quality education free of cost. The families will have the option to send their children to private schools if they have resources. We will not force anyone. We only want to ensure that lack of resources should not become a barrier for a child in getting quality education. It is my guarantee that your child will get the best education possible free of cost. We have already done that in Delhi and work is going at full swing in Punjab. Second, we will transform the existing government schools and make them excellent. Moreover, we will build new schools on a massive level. Some people said today that there is a huge lack of schools in Kutch. You need not worry anymore. You can visit government schools in Delhi to decide for yourself. Private schools stand nowhere in front of them. They have excellent infrastructure building now. Their classrooms, desks, blackboards and teachers are of such quality that no one wants to go to private schools. We will ensure that Gujarat also has such excellent government schools.”
“Third, we will conduct an audit of all the private schools and we will direct all those schools which have charged excessive fees to return it to the parents. If a private school wants to hike the fee, they will have to seek permission from the government and they cannot hike the fee arbitrarily. They also run a mafia by making it compulsory to buy the books and uniform for the school itself. We have already abolished this in Delhi and Punjab. Parents are free to buy books and uniforms from the place of their choice. Now we will abolish the same in Gujarat. Fourth, there are a lot of temporary teachers in Gujarat. They are either contractual teachers or vidyasahayak. We will regularise all of them and make them permanent. They will get the due respect and job security so that they can impart excellent education to our children. We will not only fill all the existing vacancies in the government schools but there will be a mass recruitment of teachers as well because we will open schools at a massive level. Principals and other staff will be recruited in huge numbers as well. If we have to give excellent education to the children, the student-teacher ratio should not be more than 25 or 30:1. And fifth is that no teacher will be assigned any other duty except teaching. We have already stopped this in Delhi and Punjab,” he said.
AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, “Apart from this, I have been told that there are a lot of vidya sahayaks and they have a large number of issues. TET is not conducted on time and they are not commissioned if they do not have a certificate. The list goes on. I have a request for all the vidhyasahayak to remain patient for three months. During this time, raise awareness about our guarantees in the people of Gujarat. When we will come to power after three months, I guarantee you that I will fix all our issues. A lady named Chhayaji raised an issue which is quite valid but it still does not get attention. Women do not have adequate facilities for higher education. We will build an adequate number of educational institutes and residential facilities in every corner of Gujarat which will cater to the needs of the women. We will create a blueprint to ensure that women are no longer deprived of opportunities to pursue higher education.”