Nursery admissions: Delhi HC does well to dismiss location restrictions

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Published: February 16, 2017 5:53:24 AM

Given Delhi government had notified location as the sole criteria for nursery admission in the current session, the Delhi High Court has done well to order a stay on it.

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Given Delhi government had notified location as the sole criteria for nursery admission in the current session, the Delhi High Court has done well to order a stay on it. Responding to a petition filed by private unaided schools against the government, the court observed that it is “unable to appreciate that a student’s educational fate can be relegated to his position on a map!”. All that the location criteria did was to allocate higher score to students in the adjoining area, thereby acting against those students residing beyond the specified distance. While in the existing system those living within 0-3 kms got a higher score, the new norms prescribed that of the 75% seats available under general quota, the schools would first admit those within 0-3 kms and then those within 3-6 km.

Even though the argument in favour of the distance preference is that it saves the students from spending more time on roads, it would have restricted the access of many to the premier institutions. In the absence of a mechanism to curb misuse, this criteria leads to faking of rent agreements to show a residence closer to the preferred school. At a time when the government is thinking of creating world class educational institutions, it should avoid imposing unnecessary restrictions on schools and focus on improving the quality of education in the government schools, besides increasing the number of schools. A survey by Praja foundation on state of government and MCD schools shows that for 2015-16 the enrollment rates in both government and MCD schools were down 2%. Building a strong government-led school system will be a better response to the location issue, than curbing the autonomy of the schools in taking admissions at the nursery level.

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