Kejriwal government: Dharmendra Pradhan slams Kejriwal over his ‘kabadkhana’ remark, says he should not be taken seriously

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday said it was unfortunate that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made a comparison of government schools with ‘kabadkhana’ (junkyards) and dubbed him as “Bayan Bahadur” who should not be taken seriously.

Briefing reporters after a Cabinet meeting here, Pradhan, along with Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, slammed Kejriwal over his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding conversion of all government schools in the country into model ones.

Thakur said it was “unfortunate” that those busy with “sharabkhana” were calling the schools “kabadkhana”, alluding to the allegations of a liquor scam under Kejriwal government in Delhi.

“PM-SHREE scheme will benefit 20 lakh students through development of 14,597 model schools in the country,” Thakur said.

Pradhan while hitting out at the Delhi chief minister said that despite “loud mouthed” claims by Kejriwal government, Delhi fell behind the national average and a smaller UT like Chandigarh, in parameters of student enrolments, quality of education, opening of new schools and recruitment of new principals.

“Some people have assumed issuing statements as a work for themselves. I want to call them ‘Bayan Bahadur’. There are people who work and there are others who just give statements,” Pradhan said replying to a question about Kejriwal’s letter.

“Is this how you say in Hindi literature – sarkari schools are worse than kabadkhana,” Pradhan said further.

Kejriwal on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Modi alleging that more than 80 per cent government schools in the country are worse than junkyards.

Continuing from Tuesday when he had termed the prime minister’s decision to modernise more than 14,500 schools “a drop of water in the ocean”, Kejriwal again pushed for a plan to upgrade all 10 lakh government schools in the country.

Pradhan expressed gratitude towards teachers for maintenance of government schools, saying they looked after the schools like their own children.

“It is regrettable if a responsible person of the country, a Bayan Bahadur terms schools as kabadkhana. I am also worried that what kind of language was being used for the field of education,” he said.

The Union education minister said “Bayan Veer” who despite funds does not open schools and recruit principals and fail to pay salaries to employees (referring to AAP government in Punjab), should not be taken seriously.

Pradhan said that after AAP came to power in 2015, enrolment in Delhi government schools has been on decline. Despite promising 500 model schools in its election manifesto, the AAP government has failed to open schools, he claimed.

Citing Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) and National Achievement Survey (NAS) data, Pradhan said that Delhi schools have been suffering from quality and governance issues resulting in learning outcomes of classes 3, 5, 8 and 10 students being lower than the national average.

Quality is a bigger concern in schools run by the Delhi government that considers its work in the field of education as a brownie point, said Pradhan.

Citing findings of NAS 2021 in which 1,602 Delhi government schools, 10,000 teachers and 65,000 students participated, Pradhan said Delhi government schools lagged significantly behind national average.

In class 3, Delhi’s score was 42 as against the national average of 54. In class 5, national average was 48, while Delhi scored 37. Similarly, in class 8 national average was 38, Delhi got 37.

Similarly, in class 10, the national average was 40, while Delhi scored 39. Even Chandigarh has better scores than Delhi in terms of quality, said the minister.

Pradhan also claimed that no new teachers or principals were recruited by Delhi government.

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