Arbitrary criteria making the race unfair, say parents, experts

With the Directorate of Education allowing city schools the freedom to select and fix the criteria on the 100-point system, based on which children are admitted to nursery, many are adding new criteria or revising old ones to arbitrarily pick students under the general and non-reserved categories.

Many parents and experts argue that this 100-point system amounts to screening of children based parents' educational and professional backgrounds or siblings' behaviour in school.

For example, a school in Outer Delhi is providing 20 points (second highest after neighbourhood criterion) for "children whose parents are ready to share equal responsibility in the holistic, academic, physical development of the child".

The school is awarding an additional 10 points for "children whose parents are associated with reputed international or national organisations." Parents wiling to share school responsibility voluntarily will also earn an additional five points.

Another school in Vikaspuri makes its selection based on the record of applicants' siblings, if they study in the same school.

A child whose sibling is "regular in paying fee/disciplined/attentive in studies" will get 30 points, equal to the maximum points for the neighbourhood criteria. A student who is "irregular payment/ indisciplined/inattentive" will lower the chances of his/her sibling's admission by 15 points.

A South Delhi school offers 20 points to "direct employees of multi-national companies" and 10 each to employees in the government, private or public sector.

"Understanding and accepting of the three principles of true teaching and integral education," is a criterion worth 10 points for admitting three-year-olds at another school.

Former chairperson of the Central Board of Secondary Education, Ashok Ganguly, who chaired the committee that proposed the 100 points system said such arbitrary criterion are the result of "absolute independence" awarded to private schools, which is creating "aberrations" in the system.

He argued that there is a huge gap between the demand and supply with regard to nursery. The government must provide good pre-primary facilities if this gap is to be met. "A framework needs to be decided upon and transparency is required," he said.

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