Delhi’s New Education Minister Atishi On Her Department’s “Top Priority”

Delhi Minister Atishi Marlena took charge of the education department today.

New Delhi:

Bringing synergy between municipal and Delhi government schools will be her top priority, newly inducted Education Minister Atishi said on Friday and also urged Lt Governor VK Saxena to cooperate with the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation in the interest of the people.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, who was sworn in as a minister on Thursday and took charge of the education department on Friday, said her focus will also be on the Ambedkar School of Specialised Excellence where students can specialise in streams based on their interests and abilities from class 9 onwards.

“Bringing synergy between municipal schools and Delhi government schools will be the top priority of the education department,” Atishi, whose party is also in power in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), said in an interview with PTI.

“Our focus area, so far, has been classes 6 to 12. Now, we will ensure that even primary education is brought into that system. Secondly, we will focus on the Ambedkar School of Specialised Excellence where students can focus on their specialised stream from class 9 onwards, and this is precisely the education model that exists in countries such as Singapore,” the first woman minister in the Kejriwal-led Delhi Cabinet said.

In Delhi, while primary education is the MCD’s purview, school education is provided by the Delhi government in its institutions.

Before becoming a minister, the MLA from Kalkaji was a key member of a team tasked by the AAP to implement educational reforms in the national capital.

On the tussle between Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Saxena and the AAP government over sending teachers for a training programme to Finland, she said the LG must cooperate with the elected government keeping the interest of the people in mind.

“I would like to remind Saxena that he as the LG and we as public representatives, our job is to serve the people of Delhi. I would urge him to work and cooperate with us only for the interest of the people,” she said.

With several meetings being held in Delhi as part of India’s presidency of the G20 and the summit in September, Atishi, who also holds the portfolios of public works, power and tourism, said building and maintaining Delhi’s infrastructure will be the focus.

“Infrastructure ahead of G20 becomes a very important aspect. We have inaugurated the Ashram flyover (after maintenance), now work has started on the Chirag Delhi flyover. In this (public works) department, not just new projects but maintenance of projects is also important. The quality of experience depends on maintenance of public works department (PWD) projects,” she said.

Atishi was appointed as minister along with Saurabh Bharadwaj following the resignations of Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who used to hold the education portfolio, and minister Satyendar Jain amid corruption charges. Both Sisodia and Jain are in jail.

On Mr Sisodia’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Delhi excise policy scam case, Atishi said, “If Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain were to join the BJP, all cases against them would have been erased like it happened with Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam and Suvendu Adhikari in West Bengal.”

Asked about the reactions of Congress leaders on Mr Sisodia’s arrest, she alleged that “in the Delhi Congress, it was a standard operating procedure that Ajay Maken would file cases against the AAP, and the BJP would probe them.” “When Sisodia got arrested, Anil Chaudhary was the first one to come out and say that he had flagged the case. The Congress should be ashamed of itself. Everyone can see how the BJP has been misusing its (probe) agencies, and they are choosing not to say anything,” Atishi said.

Mr Sisodia was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22. He is in judicial custody till March 20. On Thursday, he was arrested by the ED on money laundering charges in connection with alleged irregularities in the policy.

Mr Jain, who is also in judicial custody, was arrested by the ED in a case of alleged money laundering on May 30 last year.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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