January is one month when a lot of commotion is created every year due to the Nursery Admissions. The process for admission this year started on January 2 and these will end by March 31 in over 1400 private schools across Delhi-NCR. The controversy has refused to ebb over the years and this will hurt parents (yes, them too), the schools concerned and the very foundations of the educational system since it will affect quality and ensure that our students are not able to compete with the best in the world.
The controversy is all about paying fees of a certain (high) nature aside from adhering to other norms like proximity to schools being given effect to ensure the poor too manage to access the best education possible. As per the Delhi government, all 298 schools that were built on the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land will now have to abide by the conditions that have been laid down by the Supreme Court on fee hike. The private schools will now have to take permission from the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education to hike their existing fees. This is being done so that the schools do not exploit parents when it comes to the fees that is being charged. A bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar said that schools should shut down and vacate immediately if they are unwilling to abide by the condition on fee hike.
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Quality vs profiteering. That is essentially the argument. At stake is quality of Indian education, which at the moment is abysmally low. Reason: educational institutions are not able to generate the kind of funds they could use to build infrastructure and hire the best faculty to really empower students. India, by all accounts is suffering a horrific skill shortage. Quality education needs resources, resources need money and the money will come from the fees of the children.
The problem is not just Delhi specific. It will ultimately impact entire India. Considering that is the case, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar at this point need to intervene and lay out policies and guidelines that do not tag higher fees as some sort of a crime. Educating the poor is a must. Providing them good education is also a must. But that cannot happen at the cost of depriving those who can afford to pay for better education. Imposing so many restrictions will only hit quality of education. Right now the only option for better education is to go abroad. That in itself is a problem. After all, it should nopt be Indian students who should go abroad, India should have the infrastructure to ensure that students from all over the world come here to get the best of education. India has the potential, it needs will to achieve that high status.
Nursery admissions case:
On December 7, the newly appointed L-G Anil Baijal approved the nursery admission guidelines for 298 private unaided schools. The Government of Delhi directed all schools that are running on DDA land, to withhold nursery admission process till new guidelines are notified. The remaining 1,400 schools are free to decide their admission criteria. The application process for admissions will end on January 23.
According to the new guidelines that have been approved by the Lt. Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal in accordance with the Directorate of Education, all applicants living in the neighborhood of the school will be given priority over those living further away with many other pointers including no preference to girl child and guidelines for sibling in the same school. Teachers with more than two children will not be offered jobs in to these schools.