Shobha Mehra (name changed) is very hassled as she seeks admission for her three-year-old. “I have a male child, who is a first born and have not studied in any of the city schools. Niether my husband, nor I are sports persons. This means I do not qualify for any of the fancy criteria the schools have created,” Mehra said.
Private schools in the Capital have allocated a certain percentage of seats to the various categories such as neighbourhood, sibling, alumni, first born, girl child, special needs, acclaimed sportspersons, single parent and linguistic, etc. Parents say these categories are discriminatory.
Take for instance Kunal Gupta. For Gupta, an alumnus of DAV school, Pitampura, the alumni points are of no use. He stays in Vasant Vihar and has applied to all the neigbourhood schools. “Just to avail the alumni points I cannot apply to my school. So, in spite of being an alumnus of a city school, this category will not help me secure admission for my son,” he said.
However, principals defend the various categories. “The criteria are in keeping with objectives and ethos of the schools. We also feel it is difficult for parents to send two kids in two different schools, so we have the sibling category,” said LV Sehgal, principal, Bal Bharti School, Ganga Ram Marg.
Parents had raised a hue and cry when the Right to Education Act guidelines on admissions had suggested that schools conduct admission randomly within categories. The parents opposed the proposed lottery system vehemently. The Delhi government had subsequently given the schools a choice to either conduct lottery or stick to the point system — the schools chose a combination of two.