Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely doesn't think his government woke up at the last moment in asking schools to exclude criterion of parents’ profession in their nursery admission process. Schools, he says, were advised well in advance against following discriminatory criterion such as the parents' education and profession. Excerpts from a candid chat:
Schools defend the criterion saying it was introduced to bring in diversity in class…
I am not asking schools to admit children of lesser qualified parents at the cost of those coming from more educated families. All I am saying is that a child should not be judged on the basis of his or her parents' background. That is discrimination.
Hasn't the government taken this step a little too late?
Let me make it clear that we haven't changed our stand overnight. Our 2008 order clearly states that no discriminatory criterion should be adopted. I had also personally addressed all principals in 2008 and specifically mentioned this. But they seem to have forgotten everything.
Why didn't you object when schools had first informed you of their criteria?
I agree that there has been some delay on our part. But there are 1,500 schools in the Capital and we need time to scrutinise everything. And only 30 to 40 schools are following this criterion.
Many schools had this criterion last year too, but no action was taken...
2008 was an election year and the model code of conduct was in force. This affected the monitoring process.
What about schools, which had already declared their results before you initiated action this year?
I have asked the Deputy Director of Education to prepare a report on such schools. I will see on what basis they have admitted children and take action accordingly. But children admitted here will not be affected.
Some schools have declared their result on Monday without deleting the education and profession critieria….
We won't spare them.
Parents who had applied to schools according to earlier criteria stand to lose now…
I repeat that the problem is not with all schools across Delhi. And parents apply to as many as 10 schools today. Even if two schools out of their list had changed their criteria, I am sure they have a chance elsewhere.
What will be done to avoid this confusion next year?
We will send a notification specifically on this well in advance. And we urge parents to file a complaint as soon as they see any school flouting norms or rules.