Neighbourhood may be only criterion for nursery admissions in Delhi

Miss Alone

Prime VIP
The distance between a child’s home and school could be the only criteria for admissions in the coming season, a move that will simplify the procedure but is being questioned by schools.

If the Kejriwal government’s proposal on “neighbourhood criterion” is implemented, some of Delhi’s prominent private schools built on government land will have to follow the norm.

“This time, we are planning to keep distance as the only criterion. This will give equal weightage to all applications as there will be no other criteria,” Atishi Marlena, adviser to the Delhi education minister, told HT.

Typically, Delhi schools follow a point system and “neighbourhood”is one of the parameters that decide the school a child would go to.

Schools would be free to determine the distance but in keeping with the right to education guidelines.

As many as 285 private schools built on DDA land such as GD Goenka Rohini and Vasant Kunj, all Delhi Public School except the one in RK Puram, all Bal Bharti schools and Vasant Valley School would have to follow the norm, Marlena said.

Till last year, “neighbourhood”, alumni – one or both the parents ex-students -- and siblings – an elder brother or sister studying in the same school -- were the three criteria for which points were allotted.

The Delhi government plans to do away with all norms but the one for distance in the guidelines expected to be released in two weeks, officials said. The admission process begins January.

With parents keen on children starting out in good schools, there is always a scramble for seats in the city’s top private institutions.

Last few years have been chaotic, with parents dragging schools and government to court over norms that were changed several times.

Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, who will have the final word, has welcomed the move but has some reservations.

He pointed out in a note that only 285 of the 1,700 private schools were given land by government on condition of having a say in admissions, sources said.

“He has expressed concern that it might create a subset of schools which have admission polices different from other schools,” sources said.

Jung had asked the government to consults all stakeholders to come up with a transparent and uniform policy.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, was likely to meet parents, teachers and other stakeholders on December 5, sources said.

Schools can impose other criteria but only for seats left vacant after exhausting the neighbourhood norm, Marlena said.

Schools are not happy.

“Schools will suffer as the quality of students may suffer if you have students from one area only. All neighbourhoods don’t have enough number of schools and if distance is fixed, students in many areas will be left with no options,” said a principal on condition of anonymity.