The Ganguly Committee, which was set up to look into nursery admissions in Delhi, will now conduct an educational mapping of the city to ascertain how private schools are spread across the Capital. This is necessary to ensure that every zone in the city has an even distribution of schools. Educationists and parents, however, say that there is a need to grade the schools as a number of private institutions have failed to offer quality education and function more like shops.
“I have approached every school in my neighbourhood. I found that the process of admission is far more arbitrary in smaller schools. Some directly demand capitation fee, others have a very high admission fee. I know that academically these schools stand nowhere, but I do not have a choice,” said Vivek Das (name changed), a resident of Patparganj.
Das feels that in the absence of government control over schools, the amount you pay as fee has no bearing on the quality of education or infrastructure offered. The predicament reflects elsewhere too. In east and west Delhi, where private schools have mushroomed by the hundreds, quality is a casualty.
“We always tend to criticise government schools, whereas, the fact is that some private schools are as bad as far as teaching is concerned. Many do not have regular subject teachers. It is time we started grading schools. This will not only quantify the quality being offered by the school, but also help in improving standards,” said Shayama Chona, principal of DPS (R.K. Puram) and member of the Ganguly Committee.
There are 2,000 recognised private schools in the city and an equal number of unrecognised ones where no rule or directive of the government is followed. “A grading system will be good as it will prompt schools to meet the standards and learn that there is a lot more to a quality school than the fee structure or a sawnky building. You have to give admission to children from all social backgrounds and religions, and pay your staff proper salary and hire qualified teachers,” said Usha Ram, National Progressive Schools Conference (NPSC) chairperson and Laxman Public School principal.
Chona feels that a monitoring committee comprising educationists should be set up to keep a tab on schools. "The government can set up a panel or associations of schools like NPSC,” she added.
Others, however, feel that the real problem is the paucity of quality schools. “Schools dictate terms because the demand-supply ratio is in their favour. This will be solved once you have enough good schools," said Gouri Ishwaran, principal Sanskriti School.