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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Parents seek uniform window for nursery admissions, fee capping

Parents said that the guidelines offered nothing new and had no mention of a common admission window or anything on capping admission fees— an important concern among parents in the city.

education Updated: Feb 18, 2019 14:51 IST
Sadia Akhtar
Sadia Akhtar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The directorate of elementary education department last week issued guidelines for streamlining admission to nursery and pre-nursery in private schools across Delhi. The guidelines, which were released on February 12, mention a 1-km neighbourhood preference for school admission, a uniform age limit, and random lottery system as criteria for admission. School administrators, however, said that similar guidelines were already being followed by most schools in the city. Parents, instead, said that the guidelines offered nothing new and had no mention of a common admission window or anything on capping admission fees— an important concern among parents in the city.

Aparna Erry, principal, DAV Public School, Sector 14, said that the school was already following guidelines similar to the ones released by the state, and had even used the same to grant admission for this year’s academic session.

“The1-km criterion was already being followed by us since neighborhood is an important concern when small children are travelling. For this year’s nursery admissions, we had already taken the 1-km point into consideration. Even the random lottery system is in place for selection of students since the Right to Education (RTE) Act does not allow us to interview or screen a child,” said Erry.

She, nonetheless, welcomed the guidelines. “The guidelines are welcome since nursery admissions were not streamlined in Gurugram. Proper guidelines will help parents, and hopefully, make the admission process easier for all,” she added.

Nidhi Kapoor, principal of Euro International School, said that most of the suggested guidelines were being followed by her school. “These guidelines are not unfamiliar to us. They are being followed in Delhi. Taking cue from schools in Delhi, most good schools in the city are following the rules,” said Kapoor.

“We are already following the neighbourhood criterion, since we do not want children to travel a lot. Even the lottery system for selection is in place, as we do not have any screening or qualifying criteria for nursery children,” she added.

Parents, however, said that the guidelines said nothing about the admission window or cycle. In the past, there has been clamour for a uniform admission window. Many parents say that the lack of a common window is confusing and adds to their financial burden— since some amount of fee has to be paid in multiple schools to reserve a seat.

“Most of the schools I applied for had 3.5 years as the age criteria, and they also factored in the neighbourhood preference. These things are not new. The more important need of the hour is to have a cap on the admission fee, and a common admission window. There is no fixed timeline. The schools start their admission process in August and September. They want parents to give commitment 7-8 months before the child starts school. These are important areas that the government needs to work towards. I don’t think that these guidelines are something new or have come as a relief to parents,” said Arti Pandey, whose 3-year-old daughter will join nursery from April.

Her sentiments were echoed by other parents. Vivek Kumar Pandey, a resident of Sector 10, applied for nursery admission in September 2018. He said that mere guidelines weren’t enough to ease parents’ struggles.

“While I was trying to get admission for my child, my cousin brother was also simultaneously applying for admission for his child. We applied to the same school. We live within 50 metres of each other. My child got admitted, but he is still struggling to get his child admitted. There is no transparency in the admission process,” said Pandey.

He also added that the lack of a common admission window was a major issue that had been left unresolved. “Some schools start admission in July, while others in September. Parents are compelled to apply to multiple schools if their preferred school open the window later.” He added that steps were needed to ensure that the guidelines were implemented by the school. “Individual schools had similar criteria regarding the age and neighbourhood, when I was applying for my daughter’s admission. However, one can’t be sure if these parameters are followed uniformly. I don’t think any such guidelines or circular will help parents, unless steps are taken to check the implementation,” said Pandey.

Admission procedure should not involve any written or oral evaluation of the child

Admission cannot be denied on grounds of religion, caste, race, region, gender, disability, and socio-economic status

No child below the age of 3 years will be admitted to preschool

Teacher-student ratio should be 1: 20

Duration of classes shouldn’t be more than three hours per day

Preference should be given to children residing within 1km of the school

Admission to be given on first-come, first serve basis

Random lottery system to be adopted for selection

Application form should be free of cost

Transparency should be maintained in the admission process.

First Published: Feb 18, 2019 14:27 IST

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