The fate of lakhs of students studying in private, unrecognised schools across the Capital hangs in balance.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has denied recognition to more than 700 primary schools (up to class 5) in the city, as they do not meet the standards prescribed in the Master Plan of Delhi 2021.
Students of unrecognised primary schools cannot move to secondary schools for further education, as school leaving certificates of only recognised schools are valid.
There are about 2,800 primary schools in Delhi, of which 757 are recognised by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Most are small neighbourhood schools.
As per MPD guidelines, all primary schools in the city need to have atleast 800 square metres of land and a plot area of 0.2-0.4 hectares.
"We know that most schools will not be able to meet the standards laid down in the new Master Plan," said Prithvi Raj Sawhney, Mayor of Delhi.
"We had also suggested that rather than prescribing 800 sq metres as a criterion, we should lower it to 200 square metres. But the proposal is still pending with the government. We are planning to meet the urban development minister over the issue," Sawhney added.
According to MCD officials, these schools are not able to fulfil the criteria due to scarcity of land. "If we follow the Right to Information guidelines, most schools will have to shut down," said RC Jain, President of Delhi State Public Schools Management Association, that represents 80% of recognised public schools and all unrecognised schools in the city.
"We have sent a proposal to the government that apart from the land criterion, all other criteria should be made mandatory," Jain added.
The chairman of MCD's education committee is also planning to write to the Urban Development minister, asking him to clear the air over the fate of such schools.
"The school authorities have been meeting us for a while, to know what will happen to them now that the Right to Education (RTE) Act has been implemented," said Mahender Nagpal, chairman of education committee of the MCD.
The RTE makes it mandatory for schools to get recognition before they start functioning.
"We are requesting the government to make the rules flexible. Otherwise, these schools will have to shut down," Nagpal added.