The Aam Aadmi Party’s effort to simplify the nursery admissions process has left some parents quite concerned this admission season when the new policy is expected to be introduced.
Though the policy has not yet been announced, it is expected that the government will do away with all other selection parameters, implementing only the “neighbourhood criterion” through the draw of lots. The AAP was not available to confirm the distance limit, which seems to be a major point of concern for parents.
Meenakshi Sharma, a working mother of a three-year-old and a resident of Mansarovar Park said, “In a 10-15 km area, this won’t be a problem. But if the jurisdiction goes down then we’ll find ourselves in a draught.”
Explaining the implications of “neighbourhood being the only criterion”, Sumit Vohra, founder of nurseryadmissions.in, said, “It is the only transparent and honest way to go about it, providing fair and equal opportunity to all the kids in Delhi. But there is a flipside to it as well, that must be addressed by the policy makers.”
Vohra said that the government must provide for those kids as well, who will not make it to any school. “Luck plays a major role when it comes to draw of lots. No child should feel unlucky, and therefore the government will have to work to ensure admission to all kids.”
The number of schools in the city is not equal in every region. “Those who live in farther areas like in Chattarpur or Khichdipur, might face a dearth of quality schools. To get admission in prestigious schools, parents might provide fake residence proofs. All this needs to be taken into account as well,” Vohra said.
Father to a two-year-old, Manoj Kumar, a resident of Mayapuri, said, “For me the neighbourhood criterion is good. Because within 4-5 km of our place there are good schools and a draw of lots seems to be the only fair option unless of course there are more seats available in the city.”
But there are many who do not share Manoj’s opinion and have other things to worry about as well. “How many seats can parents block, if their kid makes it to more than one school, is also a point in question. So is the need to appoint an observer for draw of lots even in the general category as opposed to only for the economically weaker section (EWS). Need for a sibling quota too has been a major concern among parents,” explains Vohra.
Meenakshi, reflecting on the competitive environment, said, “The draw system has its own advantages and disadvantages. If our child makes it to the school we like, then nothing is a problem, otherwise everything seems flawed.”
Ashok Pandey, principal, Ahlcon International School, said “The government is trying to streamline the whole process and they are most welcome to do it.”
Giving a wider perspective he said, “We have been into the system for many years, the basic crux of the problem that needs to be addressed on priority basis is that the number of applicants are more than the number of schools. No matter what formula is applied there will still be children who will not be selected.”
“A systematic approach is needed to solve the major crux of the problem. We need more quality schools and we need to find a way to give parents more choices in every area of Delhi. The government is at a very advantageous position here,” said Pandey.