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Delhi nursery admissions: New rules leave private schools fuming

Nursery admissions

First Post

23-12-2013

New Delhi: It’s admission season for Delhi’s nursery schools and the new guidelines by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung have left the private schools fuming. Under the new guidelines, the 20 percent management quota has been scrapped and the admission criteria has been made uniform across all schools.

One of the key points that the private schools are upset about is the 70 percent weightage that will be given to the neighbourhood factor while selecting students. Neighbourhood has been defined as areas within a 6 kilometre radius of a school.  The 6-km radius issue has raised concerns given that not all parts of Delhi have good schools spread across. Areas such as Chhattarpur, Sarita Vihar, Okhla, Sainik Farms, West Delhi, Model Town, etc have limited schools.

Representational image. Agencies.

Representational image. Agencies.

While schools are up in arms against the guidelines, not everyone feels that it is a bad deal for the parents. With the management quota gone and an emphasis on neighbourhood principle, many feel that this is a step in the right direction.

Kusum Sachdeva, mother of  a three-year-old boy who is applying for admissions this year is happy with the guidelines. She says, “I am quite happy with this six-kilometre radius rule. I have a number of schools to choose from in West Delhi. I will apply in around 12 to 14 schools and even in some schools beyond 6 the kilometre radius, although the chances out there are less.”

She also happy that the management quota is gone. “Schools are upset because it has been removed, but for us this means 15 percent more seats. I am hopeful of getting my son admitted into a school of my choice thanks to the guidelines,” she says.

According to Sumit Vohra, who runs the portal admissionnursery.com, parents are pleased with the overall guidelines. He tells us, “According to the earlier guidelines, schools would have random point systems, some would give marks based on whether you drank alcohol, ate non-vegetarian food or not. Now with this system no school can set up random rules for admission. Also with the removal of the management quota, there will be 20 percent more seats available for general students. Schools can’t just demand donations anymore now.”

But he too concedes that the six-kilometre rule is likely to leave many unhappy and says, “Sure the system could have been better. Parents in far-flung areas are definitely not happy with this six-km rule. Perhaps a 10-km rule would have been better but even then problems would have existed.”

Vohra feels that guidelines also uphold the spirit of the RTE act and says,  “They are at par with RTE. Before this the schools were discriminating against parents, students. Now with a uniform system they can’t do the same.”

Ambrish Rai, who is the convenor for the RTE forum, says the decision to get rid of the management quota is an excellent one. He points out, “We have been demanding it for some time and it’s good that the government has removed it. We had seen that in nursery admissions, there were a lot of malpractices when it came to the management quota. The schools would fix their own people in the process.”

Rai also approves of the neighbourhood principle saying that, “This is a good rule. Earlier parents who were living close by would be denied admission rights due to management quota, donation system, etc. Now the schools can’t do the same. Schools are given cheaper land, etc. At least people in the neighbourhood should get access to them.”

Ashok Agarwal, lawyer and RTE activist, too points out that the management quota was nothing but a tool ready to be misused by the schools. He says, “Management quota was giving total discretion to schools and their governing bodies. It was depriving children of a much-needed seat. All these seats were sold out.”

As far as the guidelines of the six km radius are concerned, he says it needs to be viewed from the perspective of children as well and not just parents or schools. He says,  “All across the world, neighbourhood is the universal criteria for sending children to school. Under RTE, the guidelines says that primary school has to be within one kilometre radius, and in fact here in the Delhi government has extended it to six kilometre. The guidelines are based according to needs of the children and not parents or schools. At times parents may want to send their child to a school 50 km away, but that’s not fair to the child.”

 

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