The Supreme Court may have removed the stay on nursery admissions but for the parents of the Capital, it is the beginning of a new ordeal altogether.
A majority of them will now have to go through the process of lotteries, selections and rejections all over again.
The nursery session typically begins in the first week of April but this time around, summer vacations are about to start and even the admission process is about to start.
Non-participative and myopic policy making, however, are to be blamed for this year’s fiasco, sources claimed.
The Lieutenant Governor had announced massive changes in the admission guidelines in December last year. In a nutshell, the new guidelines restricted schools from setting their own points system and abolished the management quota, both of which were in practice since the points system came into being in 2007.
The schools were now bound to give 70 points out of 100 to children who lived within an eight-kilometre radius of the institution.
Another 20 points was to be given to those children whose older sibling was studying in the same school. Children whose parents were alumni of the school were to get an extra 5 points while those children whose parents had been transferred to the city recently were to get 5 points under the interstate transfer category.
These changes, however, were not discussed with schools —the most crucial parties in the admission process.
Schools have years of experience in dealing with the admission process and can anticipate problems that administrators possibly cannot.
To look at all schools as institutions with suspicion, as was done by civil society members as well as the administration, only exacerbated the problem.
It was the last admission criteria that drew a lot of flak as a number of fraudulent applications were made under the interstate transfer category.
The government had failed to lay down clear guidelines for parents as well as schools describing what the transfer category would constitute.
Blame must also be shared by parents who were all too keen to furnish false documents for their benefit. According to a report filed by the directorate of education in court, more than half of the interstate transfer applications after being checked were found to be fraudulent.
While change in the policy was inevitable after various complaints of misuse of the management quota were received, to completely ignore schools that, along with parents, are the biggest stakeholders in the admission process was bound to result in confusion at such a massive scale.
The directorate of education has come out with close to 20 notifications regarding the nursery admission process since December. Twelve cases regarding various aspects of the guidelines have been challenged in the courts.
To avoid such a mess in the coming years, the government should come out with a more participative policy next year and bring it out sometime in September or October so that problems, if any, can be ironed out well before admissions start in January.