Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has denied recognition to more than 500 primary schools (up to Class V), as they do not meet the standards prescribed in Master Plan 2021.
Applications of 150 other primary schools, which had been accepted, are on hold now due to the new criteria.
The new Master Plan makes it mandatory for all primary schools to have at least 800 sqm land and a plot area of 0.2 to 0.4 hectares. MCD officials said most schools applying for recognition are not so big.
There are about 2,800 primary schools in Delhi, of which 800 are recognised. Most are small neighbourhood schools.
“If we follow these guidelines, most of the schools will have to be shut down, affecting studies of lakhs of students. In any part of the city, constructing a primary school of 800 sqm area will cost nearly Rs 5 crore. So, school managements will have to charge higher fees,” said RC Jain, President of Delhi State Public Schools Management Association, which represents more than 80 per cent of recognised public schools as well as all the un-recognised schools in the city.
MCD, in a bid to help schools, has drafted a proposal seeking relaxation of norms. “We realise that most schools will not be able to meet the standards laid down in the new Master Plan. So, we have suggested that rather than prescribing 800 sqm as a criterion, we should lower it to 200 square yards, including 80 square yards for playground. The proposal has been cleared by the standing committee,” said MCD Commissioner KS Mehra.
“We will request the Central government to relax the norms, and also meet the Urban Development minister in this regard,” said MCD Standing Committee Chairman Vijendra Gupta.
Recognition to primary schools is important as, without it, “Students of unrecognised primary schools cannot move to secondary schools for further education. The school leaving certificates of only recognised schools are valid,” said Gupta.