AAP promises free, quality education if voted to power in Himachal

Painting a grim picture of education in Himachal Pradesh, Delhi deputy chief mister Manish Sisodia and Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday announced “a free and quality education to all students” and auditing of private schools if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is voted to power in the hill state in upcoming assembly elections.

Addressing a Townhall meeting in Himachal’s capital Shimla, Sisodia said the highway to the progress of any state or country goes through schools and the change is possible if the government trusts teachers and lets them do the job of teaching. He also promised to improve the infrastructure of government schools, curb private schools from charging excessive fees, regularise all part-time teachers and fill up all vacant posts of teachers.

Teachers will not be assigned any task other than teaching, he said. Citing data, Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, said around 2,000 schools in Himachal had only one teacher and 6,500 schools were functioning with two teachers.

“This is a joke with the children of the state and their future,” he said. He said many schools in Himachal had poor infrastructure with no toilets or drinking water facilities even in the constituency of chief minister Jai Ram Thakur.

“If such is the state of schools, it becomes difficult to figure out where the 8,000 that the Himachal government spends on education was going,” he said.

“Forty-seven per cent of colleges in the state were without principals. But the Himachal chief minister is least bothered. Instead, he features as poster boy in the advertisements of the private college,” he said.

Sisodia said many people in Himachal ask him if anything can be done to improve the education system.

“Neither I nor Mann or Kejriwal can do this but people of Himachal by voting for the AAP,” he said.

“Moreover, you have to trust the teachers. It’s they who will bring the education revolution in Himachal like Delhi and Punjab,” he added.

Addressing the gathering, Mann said the problems of Punjab and Himachal were almost similar but there was no way out as people didn’t have a third option as the two parties alternated power every five years. Now, when they have chosen the third option, positive changes have started to take place.

He claimed that in five months, his government has done things that the other parties didn’t do in 70 years.

“We have curbed corruption and launched a helpline to facilitate people to complain about corrupt officials,” he said.

“We have also implemented the ‘One MLA, one pension’ rule. Besides, the APP government in Punjab has fulfilled the promise of 300 units of free electricity to every household, he added.

On Independence Day, Mann said 75 mohalla clinics were dedicated to the public in Punjab and 25 more were added the next day taking the number to 100.

He said to carry out such public welfare works, the intention of the leader should be clear.

“When the public wakes up, a revolution starts,” he said urging the people of Himachal to vote for AAP if they want similar changes in the state.

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