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Hickory, dickory docked

The affidavit filed by the Delhi Government seeking to junk the Ganguly Committee’s 100-point admission scheme weeks before the start of the new admission session spells more trouble for the second consecutive year.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2007 00:19 IST

'Here we go around the mulberry bush...’ is no longer a nursery rhyme. It is fast becoming policy. And no marks for guessing who the worst affected are in this unholy mess of nursery admissions in Delhi’s schools. The affidavit filed by the Delhi Government seeking to junk the Ganguly Committee’s 100-point admission scheme weeks before the start of the new admission session spells more trouble for the second consecutive year. Parents of three- and four-year-olds cannot be blamed for being at their wits’ end about how to proceed in getting their wards into halfway decent schools that can impart proficient language and numerical skills and provide exposure to children whereby interest, ability and aptitude can be mapped to opportunities available. There simply aren’t enough such schools, government schools are not a credible option but for the desperate and the third option is that of sending kids to schools in the NCR. The last brings with itself a different set of baggage, from recognition by the authorities to transportation issues, especially at the primary level.

The purpose behind reviewing the admission process to nursery was simple. There should be transparency of procedure, no discrimination, no arbitrary practices and parents should know why a child might be denied admission. Last year, the courts had ‘requested’ that schools follow the Ganguly Committee suggestions as a ‘trial’, which could then be improved upon on the basis of feedback. It may be recalled that private schools across Delhi have been unanimous in rejecting the proposal from its early days. But in attempting the new model, apparently, a large number of 3-year-olds were left in the lurch, not having made it as per the neighbourhood school criteria. We say ‘apparently’ because the Great Indian Adjustment process is alive and kicking, though in a most inconspicuous manner, when it comes to admission procedures as practised in Delhi. And that is exactly what needs to be cracked.

So, what now? Back to square one? The problems remain. One year has been wasted. The courts and government should stop playing ducks and drakes and get serious about building the framework for school admissions. Or, they should just let things be. Let the market decide, for things can never be quite right till parents get to choose the school, instead of the other way around.