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Chaos in Delhi nursery admission procedure

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Amol Arora

The nursery admission chaos is essentially about trust – Do you trust the schools to have a fair and equitable system to admit students? Should the schools choose their students and parents based on their own philosophy of education? Do you feel that schools misuse this freedom and autonomy to admit students through dubious means? Here, there is no right or wrong, since not every school is the same and it is difficult for the authorities to judge each institution individually. Therefore, we have created an “acceptable” compromise formula where schools have a limited autonomy for a percentage of seats and the rest, just a lottery with preference for geographic proximity to the school.

Is this an ideal situation? Certainly not1 But, parents have no choice; they admit their children in whatever “decent” school they can luckily get into. Schools also, have limited choice and often end up with a student-parent population which is not in sync with their philosophy. In all this, we jeopardise the career of the student who is stuck in a school system which is not as per his or her strengths but, as per his home location or a “lucky” draw.

One must wonder, why this sad state of affairs; the “Nursery Admission” melodrama happens only in Delhi every year and not in other cities like Mumbai, which has an even higher & denser population and less land available. This is a classic demand-supply situation and the only long-term and permanent solution to this, is to increase the supply of schools. The city is growing in population – both horizontally and vertically and the only way to address this increasing demand for quality schooling is to increase the supply of quality schools.
This can be done in 2 ways. Firstly, DDA, as a part of its planning, has school sites and should resume the allotment of school sites. Second, permit schools to be setup on green agricultural lands around the city. These steps will increase the supply of schools and in turn, schools offering quality education will survive, current monopolies will break, salaries of teachers will increase, thereby attracting better talent to education. A win-win situation for all!

Amol Arora is vice-chairman & managing director, SHEMROCK & SHEMFORD Group of Schools

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