Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday laid the foundation stone of a School of Specialised Excellence (SoSE) in North-East Delhi’s Sunder Nagri. At a recent parent-teacher meet in Delhi government schools, Sisodia had expressed his government’s intention to expand the number of SoSEs from 36 to 100. “Paucity of land,” he pointed out, was the biggest hindrance in this initiative.
As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) looks to spread its political imprint nationally, it has often showcased its ‘Delhi Model’ of education to highlight the changes a government can bring about if it decisively acknowledges education as a top agenda of governance.
What are SoSEs?
SoSEs are Delhi government flagship schools that provide education in five specialised domains. They cater to students who have a demonstrated interest and aptitude in specific domains. These schools seek to discover, foster and nurture student ability so that they realise their full potential.
There are five domains for which admissions are conducted — STEM, humanities, performing and visual arts, high-end 21st century skills and the armed forces preparatory school. At present, there are 36 SoSEs with around 8,000 enrolled students.
International Baccalaureate curriculum
These schools are affiliated with newly formed Delhi Board of School Education (DBSE) and have tied up with the International Baccalaureate. Specialised education is ensured in these schools through partnerships with expert institutes of global repute.
The Delhi government has made Australian Council for Educational Research, Boston Consulting Group, Indian Institute of Technology, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and some other institutes as its knowledge partners.
What’s the difference?
Ajay Kumar, the humanities teacher in SoSE at Kalkaji, explained why students in these schools have an edge. “The level of preparedness among our students is far higher than students from other boards. In terms of learning outcomes too, they are better off as they can easily solve questions from CBSE and NCERT books. We focus on conceptual clarity and holistic learning. Discussions and group presentations are routinely held, enabling students to shift from route learning to experiential learning,” Kumar said.
Kumar also credited the entrance examination for making sure that only students of a particular level are enrolled. This also helps teachers give focussed and special attention to each student, Kumar added.
Ashish, a student of class 9 who took admission in SoSE after leaving a private school, said that the students get excellent opportunities to learn in their field of interest.
“SoSE enables us to set our foundation right. It also prepares us for JEE and NEET entrances. Our science lab is really fascinating as we get to experiment in robotics and construction. Courses that are offered for over a lakh elsewhere are being taught here for free,” he said.
Explaining his decision to shift from a private school to SoSE, Ashish said, “I decided to switch from a private school after hearing about new tools and techniques that are adopted by teachers here.”
Speaking to The Federal, Shariq, principal of Kalkaji SoSE, said: “Admissions to these specialised schools are only conducted at the Class 9 level.”
The curriculum is designed to align with the vision of NEP-2020, he said, so that students with deep interest and aptitude in a particular domain get specialised learning opportunities from the secondary stage onward.
Replying to a question on whether top Delhi colleges will admit students from Delhi Board of School Education, he said that the first batch of students will graduate in 2023 and he is hopeful that they will get placed in top colleges under Delhi University.