65% of Delhi government schools are headless
New Delhi : Nearly 600 of Delhi's government schools are running headless -- some of them for the past six years -- according to an RTI reply, and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) blames the central governments neglectful attitude for this "serious issue".
According to the information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, there are 918 posts of principals in 1,024 Delhi government schools. Some 106 schools don't have such posts. Out of 918 posts of principals, 595 are lying vacant, the reply revealed.
It said 768 vice principals are holding the charge of the head of the school "due to principals not physically working or some schools have(ing) no post of principal".
"As on July 12, 595 posts of principals are vacant out of 918," it said. And of 323 principals, 71 have been re-employed after their superannuation.
In most of the schools, the post is vacant for more than a year and some have not had principals for the past several years.
For example, in the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya No. 2, in Madipur, the vice principal has been holding charge since December 2012.
Sarvodaya Co-ed Senior Secondary School in Jaidev Park and Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Samaipur have had no principals in the last four years.
Similarly, it has been more than three years since Government Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Subhash Nagar had a principal.
In Government Girls Senior Secondary School No 1, Tilak Nagar, the post has been vacant since June 2015.
The post of the principal has been vacant at Government Boys Senior Secondary School No. 1 in J.J. Colony Khyala and Government Co-ed Senior Secondary School at Ghogha since 2016.
Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya No.3 in Tilak Nagar, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Shalimar Bagh and Government Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya (Ved Pandit Khushi Ram) in Nangal Thakran have not had principals for the last two years.
In some zones, the posts have been lying vacant in almost all the schools there for more than a year now. For example, of the 14 schools in Zone 28 (central Delhi), 13 are without principals. In Zone 3 (east Delhi), of the total 27 schools, 19 are without principals.
Similar is the situation in Zone 19 (southwest Delhi) where out of 17 schools, 12 are running without principals. In Zone 20 (southwest Delhi), out of 24 schools, 13 have no principals and in Zone 27 (central Delhi), of the total 25 schools, 12 are without principals.
This, despite the fact that education has been one of the priorities of the AAP government which allocated 26 per cent of its budgetary expenses for education in Delhi. But the recruitment of principals in Delhi government schools is done by the Union Public Service Commission.
The reforms undertaken by the Arvind Kejriwal government in the city have won non-partisan global praise.
Asked about the huge number of vacant principal posts, AAP leader Atishi Marlena said the recruitment is a matter of Services that is being currently looked after by the Lieutenant Governor -- the central government's representative on administrative affairs of the national capital.
"Lack of principals is a serious issue. The matter is out of our hands. We, in the past two-three years, have raised this point before the LG, who holds the charge of Services," Marlena, former advisor on education to the Delhi government, told IANS.
(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)