The Delhi lieutenant governor's office wrote to the chief secretary on Monday seeking explanation for the "decline in enrolment and rise in absenteeism" in government schools since 2014-15 despite an increase in expenditure on education.
The letter came days after Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena flagged a delay by the AAP dispensation in acting on a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report on the construction of classrooms in Delhi government schools.
The LG office has cited data from the Economic Survey 2021–2022 of the Delhi government detailing decline in enrolment of students in its schools and significant absenteeism of students despite the expenditure on education sector increasing from Rs 6,145 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 11,081 crore in 2019-20.
Even as the per student per annum expenditure incurred by the government increased from Rs 42,806 in 2015-16 to Rs 66,593 in 2019-20, the number of students enrolled in Delhi government schools declined from 15.42 lakh in 2014-15 to 15.19 lakh in 2019-20, according to the letter.
"Despite substantial increase in investment in the education sector by the state government both in absolute terms and as part of the total budget, it is seen that during the same period, the enrolment in Delhi government schools declined from 15.42 lakh in 2014-15 to 15.19 lakh in 2019-20," the letter read.
"The percentage of students attending classes in Delhi government schools has been declining and percentage of attendance was in range of 55-61 between 2016-17 and 2019-20 which indicates high absenteeism in the range of approximately 6 lakh children...," it added.
The LG office has sought an explanation on priority, saying the "anomaly" be examined in larger public interest. Earlier in the day, the BJP alleged that the AAP's education model is an "extortion" model and claimed the city government increased the budget for the construction of classrooms in its existing schools, ignoring the Central Public Works Department's guidelines.
Citing a CVC report sent to the Delhi government's vigilance department in 2020, the saffron party said the city government hiked the construction cost by Rs 326 crore, 53 per cent more than the original tender amount, without floating a new tender.
(With PTI inputs)