In 2023, schools in Delhi achieved significant milestones, including 32 students securing positions at the National Defence Academy (NDA) and the success of the “Business Blasters Investment Expo”, where over 100 student-led startups showcased innovative business ideas to potential investors.
However, the air quality in the national capital took a nosedive following Diwali celebrations, resulting in an unexpected break of ten days for educational institutions as they grappled with the challenges posed by deteriorating pollution levels.
Throughout the year, Delhi government schools played a pivotal role by welcoming more than 150 students from violence-affected Manipur, ensuring their seamless transition into these institutions and facilitating their integration into a normal academic life.
On September 27, the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Armed Forces Preparatory School (AFPS), established by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government last year, achieved a remarkable feat as 32 students, including nine girls, cleared the highly competitive NDA exam, marking one of the highest success rates in the country.
Out of the total 237 enrolled students, 76 Class 12 students appeared for the NDA exam. The AFPS, recognised by the Delhi Board of School Education, focuses on grooming students for careers as armed forces officers, boasting a sprawling 14-acre campus.
Beyond AFPS’s accomplishments, the “Business Blasters” program within city government schools reached a significant milestone in April. Delhi Minister Atishi announced that students selected for the investment expo under this program would have direct admission opportunities to top universities in the capital.
Over 100 startups were chosen from a pool of more than two lakh student entries competing at the Delhi government’s Business Blasters Investment Summit and Expo this year.
Aparajita Gautam, President of the Delhi Parents’ Association, emphasised the program’s role in shaping students’ ideas and ambitions, attributing their progress to the government’s support.
Launched in 2021 as part of the Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum (EMC), Business Blasters empowers Class 11 and 12 students. Participants receive seed money of Rs 2,000 to conceptualise and execute business ideas within their communities, fostering entrepreneurial skills.
Despite these achievements, Delhi schools faced challenges due to the city’s worsening air quality post-Diwali, leading to a suspension of physical classes for ten days from November 9 to November 18. This period was counted as part of the winter vacation, reducing the usual 15-day winter break by seven days.
The impact was particularly felt by underprivileged students lacking access to online learning tools, while others expressed concerns about irregular virtual classes.
Parents urged the government to implement a permanent solution to Delhi’s pollution woes.
Additionally, Delhi government schools eased admission procedures for around 150 students from Manipur affected by ethnic violence, assisting their enrollment in Classes 9 to 12, despite their lack of necessary documents due to their sudden relocation from Manipur. The Deputy District Education (National Institute of Open Schooling) provided personalised assistance over the phone, facilitating admissions based on marksheets from the Manipur School Board or the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for Class 11 students. (With inputs from PTI)