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“Your ignorance is painful”, Himanta Biswa Sarma responds to Arvind Kejriwal comparing schools in Assam and Delhi, asks him to visit remote areas of NE

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said that while Delhi is rich city state, Assam is a remote state with diverse geographies facing challenges like natural calamities, terrorism etc and therefore both can't be compared

The online banter between Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on education in both states escalated today after Kejriwal refused to answer Sarma’s question on how many new schools have been built by the Delhi govt. The Assam CM gave a befitting reply to the Delhi CM after Kejriwal said that they should visit each other’s state to see the schools.

Pointing out the attempt of Kejriwal to compare the education system of Delhi with the same of Assam, Sarma said that both can’t be compared because the two are completely different regions. He pointed out that while Delhi is a rich city-state, Assam is a much larger state with huge diversities and poorer economic conditions, and therefore the schools of both can’t be compared.

This all started yesterday when Arvind Kejriwal criticised the Assam govt for the decision to shut down 34 schools for poor performance in board exams. Quoting a report saying that the Assam govt has ordered to close 34 schools after not a single student was able to pass the 10th exam from those schools, Kejriwal had tweeted that closing schools is not the solution. ‘We need to open many new schools all over the country. Instead of closing the school, improve the school and make education right,’ he had added.

Himanta Biswa Sarma had responded to this by saying while the govt is shutting down some poor-performing schools, the Assam govt has built many new schools during his tenure as education minister and then chief minister. Giving an account of new schools built and private schools provincialized, Sarma had asked Kejriwal, “How many new schools Delhi Government has started in last 7 yrs?”

Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that 8610 new schools were added to the number of govt schools in Assam, which included 8391 private schools taken over by the govt, and the rest new schools built.

While the Assam CM and everyone else were waiting for Kejriwal to respond with the corresponding numbers for Delhi, he decided to dodge the question completely. Instead, he claimed that he was not criticising the education system in Assam, and instead everyone should learn from each other to make the country number one.

Then he offered to visit Assam to see the Assam govt’s work in education, and invited Sarma to Delhi so that he can show his govt’s work in the sector.

However, Himanta Biswa Sarma lambasted Kejriwal for his attempt to compare education in both states. Pointing out how the scale of the sector is vastly different, he tweeted, “Your ignorance is painful. Let me help you. Assam is 50 times bigger than Delhi! Our 44521 govt schools teach 65 lakh students- against your 1000+ odd schools. Our army of dedicated teachers number 2+ lakh; Midday meal workers 1.18 lakh. Fathom it?”

He added that unlike Delhi, Assam has to manage the fury of floods, deal with militancy, negotiate hilly & tough terrains – and yet deliver high-quality education.

Pointing out further differences between the two states, Assam CM said, “We impart education in six mediums including 14 different tribal languages. Our diversity is something that we’r proud of, cherish, & ensure it to thrive through our unique education system. And yes, we do not have resources like that in Delhi. We’re proud of what we’ve and do!”

The six mediums that schools in Assam impart education are Assamese, English, Hindi, Bodo, Bengali and Nepali.

He then invited Arvind Kejriwal to visit Assam and said that after he sees the challenges faced by Assam, he will stop lecturing. “We’re amazing hosts. Please come; spend 2 nights in our riverine area and hill districts. See challenges we face. You’ll stop lecturing,” Sarma tweeted.

The Assam CM also offered him to show the medical colleges in Assam, saying they are 1000 times better than Kejriwal’s Mohalla clinics.

Ending the thread of his tweets, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Arvind Kejriwal need not worry of making the country number 1, as PM Modi is already doing that.

The Assam CM also responded to questions on the issue by reporters in Assam, and pointed out the vast difference between Delhi and Assam. He said that Delhi is basically a municipality, and it has been the capital of India for a long time, on the other hand, Assam is a remote state with several challenges.

‘They run 1200 schools where 15-16 lakh children study, and we run schools in areas like North Kachar Hills, Karbi Anglong Hills, Riverine areas where even today there are no electricity. We deal with almost a crore student in 50,000-60,000 schools. There can’t be a comparison between a municipality and a state,’ he said.

Sarma added, ‘if there were only 1200 schools in Assam, every student would have got a computer, an iPad, smart class, and they would have got non-veg food for breakfast and lunch in the schools. I don’t why a person running 1200 schools comparing himself with a state.’

He said that even private organisations like Don Bosco, St. Mary’s, Sankardev Vidya Niketan etc run a large number of schools comparable to schools run by Delhi govt, therefore the talk about Delhi model of education is meaningless.

‘Against 1200 schools and few Mohalla clinics, we run 2000 hospitals and 60000 schools, that too in an area of 80000 square kilometre that includes difficult terrains like hills, rivers etc. How he can sell that model? He can compare Delhi model vs Chandigarh Model, he can compare Delhi model vs Andaman Model, but he should not bring this comparison,’ Sarma further said.

On the invitation to visit Delhi, the Assam CM said that he anyway keeps visiting Delhi for official work, he had already seen the Mohalla clinics, and he can see the schools also anytime. Therefore, it is for Kejriwal for visit Assam to seen the ground realities of Assam. He said Kejriwal should visit Assam and spend some days in places like Dima Hasao, Baghbar, Jania etc. He also should visit other northeastern states to see the situation there and how the region has been victim of partition, militancy and natural calamities etc.

It is notable that while the Assam CM said that Delhi govt runs around 1200 schools, the actual number is even less. The education department of the Delhi govt lists 1040 schools on its website.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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