Debunking with Data: AAP's Bogus Claims about Government School Results


When Class 12 results were declared this year, AAP went around celebrating another non-existent feather in its cap: that government schools in Delhi, beat private schools
Here's what Manish Sisodia tweeted: "Delhi govt schools performed better than private schools. Well done! Team Education of Delhi. I'm proud of my team.#DelhiEducation
AAP and Kejriwal have always had a rather hostile equation with private schools, and while they do raise valid points at times, their tirades are eventually going to be a strong disincentive for people aiming to setup quality private schools in Delhi. 

Our recently replaced HRD minister, who went from textbooks to textiles, was accused of doing very little, beyond theatrics. Old habits die hard I guess, even when one is off the screen. Thank god for small mercies and that she was spending her time on rehearsing Macbeth. Definitely better than leaving any long lasting impact of the kind left behind by her Harvard educated UPA predecessor who waded like a bull in a china shop when he decided to "fix" everything in sight from board exams, to grades, to JEE. AAP has also decided to "fix" things and Delhi should be very worried. Apart from the increased education budget and better monitoring of government schools they have inflicted a license-permit-quota raj for private schools. A good number of their steps appeal only to the "Activist" class of people, often only capable of making a noise and a racket; people who lack self respect and live off the generosity of donor funds; without really adding anything to expand capacity themselves while making life hell for those who do. This EducationWorld article analyzes rather well, that AAP has done very little beyond budgetary allocations

Time to come back to AAP's claim. The claim was made on the basis that The pass percentage in government schools was 88.98 per cent against 86.67 per cent in private schools.
This is factually correct yet completely meaningless.

1. In recent years, the pass rates for government schools in Delhi have been quite similar to those of private schools. And the metric is quite meaningless. 
Here's a chart from Scroll



Pass percentage in Class 12 board exams, 2015, in Delhi. (Source: Government of Delhi: Analysis of CBSE result 2015 – Class 12 performance.)


2. Most government schools in Delhi simply don't offer the core and critical subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology in which students are likely to fai!

Many of them only offer the commerce and humanities stream and do not offer Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics or Biology - subjects which are relatively difficult and end up reducing the pass rates of private schools. 


"Of the 866 senior secondary government schools in the city, only 270 . just 31.17% . offer science as a stream in Class 11 and 12. In sharp contrast, all the 866 institutions offer Arts (Humanities) as a stream."


For example: In 2016, out of 109 Sarvodaya (Govt) schools for which I had data, only 40 offered Chemistry.
Out of 130 other schools marked GOVT in Delhi, only 45 schools offered Chemistry. 


3. The average scores in govt. schools are significantly lower. 

Again, from the scroll article linked above. This is 2015 analysis, but the trend remains the same for 2016.

Subject-wise difference in the average marks obtained by students of government and private schools in 2015. (Source: Government of Delhi: Analysis of CBSE result 2015 – Class 12 performance.)

4. The top performing schools in Delhi are all private schools. 

There are just 2 govt. schools from Delhi in this list, while there are over a hundred private schools. 
While we might have missed the data for certain schools, the ratio of government to private schools is still stark.

Do keep in mind that Govt. schools do cater to a very different socio-economic strata, however that certainly doesn't end up validating or justifying AAP's claim. 
I certainly hope that AAP hasn't actually fooled itself into believing what they're claiming and that they're only using the metric to excuse yet another set of advertisements. 
They could begin with making Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics available in more schools first. And then creating all those schools they promised, which should have been mushrooming at the rate of one every couple of days. 

But I am not holding my breath for any of that.