Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalayas (RPVVs), a chain of 22 schools run by Delhi government will be subsumed in the proposed 100 schools of specialised excellence in Delhi. These RPVV schools for ‘gifted’ have stopped admissions for class VI since last year and therefore classes VII will continue this year and in two years, these schools will function for classes 9-12.
One of the best experiments in school education in independent India, RPVV were conceived and set up in 1997 by Delhi government to nourish and mentor the potential meritorious students studying in Delhi’s municipal and government schools, essentially a class of gifted children coming from marginalized and weaker who sent their children to government primaries. These schools admitted students in class VI and were senior secondaries till class XII with provision of lateral admissions in class IX and XI. The admission was based on an entrance test. Called as pace setting schools, these schools were adequately resourced and looked after in terms of provisions by the government, had good facilities and experienced faculty. By 2019, there were 22 of them and all proving their mettle with super outcomes and quality of students so much so that many parents would wish to leave high-end private schools for these.
However, the fist challenge to these schools came with the Right to Education Act, 2009, which interfered into its admission process as entrance tests are not permitted for admission under this law. While the government did try to find a way out by declaring them special category schools, the new ambitious project of ‘schools of specialised excellence’ made them a bait for the city’s government anxious to built on its image of reforming education.
Now there will be no fresh admissions below class IX in RPVVs and Schools of Excellence, with the idea that these models are being converted to be subsumed into the network of ‘schools of specialised. The existing junior-most batch will continue till class XII.
The Delhi Cabinet had in March approved a proposal for the establishment of 100 schools of specialised excellence in Delhi. RPVVs will be part of these 100 specialised excellence schools. The new scheme of schools are proposed to cover one domain of specialization — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Performing and Visual Arts, Humanities and “high-end 21st century skills”. These schools will be for ‘gifted students’ from classes IX and XII who have special aptitude and interest in these domains.
The schools of specialised excellence will focus on providing experiential learning opportunities through state-of-the-art infrastructure, creativity and problem-solving focused learning and teaching, strong partnerships with universities and industry leaders, mentorship schemes and easy access to role models, according to Delhi’s deputy CM, Manish Sisodia.
While RPVV prepare to become history, a great model and experiment, which needed scale up at upper primary level will be lost forever. While the new replacement is still to prove itself, the fact remains for gifted children, things will look the traditional way.