Private schools can frame nursery admission rules: SC
Adding to the confusion over nursery admissions, the Supreme Court Friday allowed unaided private schools to frame their own separate rules and guidelines to admit students in nursery classes, including holding 'informal interactions' with children and their parents but only after the admission.
From Correspondents in Delhi, 14 Dec 2007
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan allowed the schools to have 'an informal interaction' but not a formal interview with the children and their guardians.
It observed, 'What is the need for interaction before admission, unless schools want to negotiate how much parents could pay for the admission of their ward?'
The court, while allowing schools to frame their own guidelines, possibly at variance with those issued by the Delhi government and endorsed by the Delhi High Court, also gave freedom to private schools to frame their own admission schedule.
The high court had asked the schools to begin admission only from Dec 15.
The apex court bench, which included Justices R.V. Raveedran and J.M. Panchal, however, asked the schools to end the process of admission by March 15 next year.
It also asked the schools to apprise Delhi government's Directorate of Education within a week of their respective rules and schedule for admission to nursery classes.
The bench dismissed their plea for two years of nursery education and made it clear that the minimum age for admission would be four years and not three.
It also directed private unaided schools to refund the fees of children who were denied admission or who have got admission in other schools.
Appearing for the association of private, unaided schools, senior counsel Harish Salve contended that unaided schools, numbering around 1,100, cannot be forced to follow the admission schedule laid down for government schools or be compelled to have a common admission schedule similar to other private schools.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi appearing for another petitioner, the Forum for Promotion of Quality Education, contended that the schools should be permitted to admit children at three years so that they may have two years of pre-school training.
'Why not have creches as well in schools?' the bench responded sarcastically to Rohtagi's argument, and remarked 'unaided schools do not mean commercial establishments.'
The court told the petitioners that three years is not the right age to send children to school and there was no need for formal interviews of parents or the child after information asked for has been provided by them.
It also dismissed Rohtagi's contention that the minimum age of admission to Class I could be fixed at six instead of five to ensure two years of pre-school, nursery education. This would also meet the constitutional provision for mandatory primary education of children between 6-14 years, contended Rohtagi, but in vain.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal, who had been pursuing the matter at the Delhi High Court till early this month, opposed the petitioners in the apex court and said the child cannot be made to suffer for the weaknesses or deficiencies of his parents.
A child of an illiterate or poor parent cannot and should not be denied admission owing to the poverty or illiteracy of the parent, he contended.
The bench rejected arguments by schools that they should have the right to select children of their choice as they are unaided.
(Staff Writer, © IANS)
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Delhi court's 'no' to nursery admission guidelines
The Delhi High Court Wednesday refused to accept the Delhi government's guidelines for admission of children in nursery classes in the private schools that have rejected an expert panel's recommendations.
From Correspondents in Delhi, 14 Nov 2007
A division bench headed by Chief Justice M.K. Sarma said, 'We find it (guidelines) vague to some extent and it needs to be fine tuned.'
The court asked the state government to make the guidelines clearer in 'wordings' by Monday if it did not want to introduce the Ganguly committee recommendations of point systems.
It also rejected the plea of the Association of the Private Schools and said there was no need to make a child study two years in primary stage and the Delhi Education Act has specified that the entry to class I should be at the age of five years.
The court said Clause 6 of the guidelines spoke about no interview of the children but it was silent about the interview of parents by the school management.
Asking government counsel Sultan Singh to add that the parents will not be interviewed, the court said, 'From your guidelines it appears that parents will be the candidates and the schools will interview them. Why didn't you say that no interview of the parents would be held but only the interaction?'
Authorities have been asked to file the application by Nov 19.
In an application last week, the government submitted that it had issued guidelines and asked private schools to start the nursery admission process from Nov 30 after devising their own admission criteria - an indication of the government's rejection of the Ganguly Committee's point-based admission system.
In a petition, a group of 400 private schools had asked the court to review its order on the age limit for admission to nursery and Class I.
Last year the court had ruled that the schools should adhere to the Delhi Education Act.
The pre-primary education should be restricted to one year and a child should be four years of age at the time of admission to nursery classes and five years for Class I, the order said.
The government had asked the schools to devise their own criteria and start admissions from Nov 30.
It said that it favoured more freedom for schools in admissions, but insisted there will be no interviews for children and that three years is the minimum age. Schools have also been told to consider children from all backgrounds.
The government will also set up a monitoring cell in every district to look into admission-related complaints. Further, it has asked schools to get their admission criteria approved by the managing committee of the school with the consent of the Director of Education.
The Delhi government informed the court that it was in favour of giving them guided autonomy.
The government said keeping in view their separate identities, these schools should be allowed to develop their own criteria for admissions to these classes.
(Staff Writer, © IANS)
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Schools allowed to frame guidelines for nursery admission
Public schools in the capital can frame their own guidelines for admissions to nursery classes but the educational qualification and income of parents cannot be included, the Delhi government said Friday.
From Correspondents in Delhi, 7 Dec 2007
State Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said that the government would monitor the guidelines and that parents also cannot be interviewed.
'Parents can be called only after the schools declare the admission list,' he said.
Schools should observe three parameters while forming guidelines, neighbourhood, alumini and siblings, to assess the child on a scale of 100 points.
But since schools have their own requirements, there would be 'no cap on points assigned to any one parameter', he told reporters.
From now on, nursery classes will be known as pre-school for which the admission age has been fixed at three years and for kindergarten, which will be known as pre-primary, the admission age is four years.
'Children admitted to pre-school class last year will be promoted to pre-primary this year without having to undergo re-admission, and every child completing three years as on March 31, 2008, would get admission in the pre-school class,' the minister said.
Schools that do not have pre-primary classes have been given three years to start the classes, he said.
Minority schools can add community status as one of the parameters for admission, he said.
However, most private schools are unhappy with the government not allowing them to interact with the child or parents during admission.
The private aided and unaided schools have decided to request the Department of Education of the Delhi government to extend the time limit for submission of guidelines for pre-primary classes and also review the clause that prevents formal interaction with children and parents.
'We have decided to request the education department to extend the deadline of submitting guidelines for admission. We will also request the department to review the clause that prevents formal interaction with children and parents. We should be given autonomy to know about the financial and socio-cultural background of students,' said S.L. Jain, secretary of National Progressive School Conference, a body of 300 schools.
The deadline for schools to submit the parameters they would use to admit children into nursery and pre-primary classes ended Friday. The directorate of education (DoE) will assess the norms within four weeks to help the schools begin their admission process.
The Delhi High Court had said that schools are free to fix their own parameters for admitting students as long as they take into account certain government-specified norms and get their set of parameters cleared by DoE.
(Staff Writer, © IANS)