Delhi Budget 2018: The Arvind Kejriwal government on Thursday presented its first ‘Green budget’ in the Delhi Assembly. Out of the total Rs 53,000 cr budget, the government allocated Rs 13,9997 crore for the education sector in the state. This year, the Delhi government allocated 26 per cent to the education sector, the highest share. A major chunk of the Education budget will go towards the introduction of a new curriculum in government schools, introduction of the Mission Buniyaad, self-defence training of girl students, promotion of sports in schools and setting up a world-class skill centre.
In a bid to ensure security for students and monitoring of teachers at schools, the government has announced an allocation of Rs 175 crore for installation of CCTV cameras in school buildings. A total of 1.2 lakh cameras will be installed. The decision, however, has failed to impress school teachers.
Reacting to the announcement, teachers said that idea of installing CCTVs in school in such large numbers was “disheartening”. Anita Rampal, a professor in DU’s Department of Education said, “Investments that focus on installation of CCTVs and online streaming of classrooms promote a bizarre and dangerous mode of surveillance of teachers and children. It does not create a trusting, creative and good learning environment.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, 55-year-old Nishi Agarwal, government school teacher for 30 years, said that even prisons do not have such levels of monitoring. “Jail mein bhi itni nigrani nahin hoti.” She added, “It will only take away the essence of teaching. To know that they are being watched constantly will make teachers — and even children — uncomfortable. If they want to keep kids safe, why don’t they use the money to hire better guards and security personnel.”
Agarwal also lashed out at the government over its move to provide tablets to teachers, and said that it will only burden them. “Right now, we manually record attendance and other details, and then the IT professional uploads them. With tablets, the first period will go in uploading details. Also, tablets cannot be used to teach a class with 60-70 students. The government needs to think of such policies.”
Announcing the government’s decision in the Assembly on Friday, Finance Minister Manish Sisodia stressed on the need to keep students safe and said that 1.2 lakh CCTV cameras will be installed across government schools. He added, “An outlay of Rs 175 crore has been proposed in the budget estimate 2018-19. About 150-200 cameras will be installed in each school building. Parents will now be able to see classroom activities of their children online.”