Distance limit extended to 8 km

Any limit beyond this negates neighbourhood school concept: DoE

The Lieutenant Governor extended the home-to-school distance limit under the new guidelines from six to eight km, bringing much needed relief for the parents on Friday. But there was no good news in store for private schools in the capital — the management quota stands abolished.

The LG has decided to budge only on the distance criterion, rest of the guidelines remain unchanged. 

Now, anyone who lives within eight-km radius of a school, will get 70 points out of 100 under the neighbourhood school category.

According to Directorate of Education, any further increase will vitiate the concept of neighbourhood schools. “Any further increase in the distance limit will increase the travel time for children,” said the DoE. Earlier this month, private unaided school associations, staff and parents had sent representations over the nursery admission guidelines to LG and DoE.

  The All India Parents Association has upheld the order. “The extention of the distance rule is in the spirit of the provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009,” said AIPA.

Private school associations wrote to LG Najeeb Jung demanding slabs in the neighbourhood criterion, giving more benefits to those living closet to a school. 

“Suggestions to have slabs in the neighbourhood criterion have not been accepted because there are limited seats for nursery admission. Slabs with more weightage for shorter areas would deny admission to many children,” the DoE said. There are around one lakh seats in the nursery admissions and with the abolition of management quota, another 20,000 seats are available for the open category.

The employees of the private schools expressed apprehensions about whether the staff quota will be applicable to grandchildren as well as children. “The staff quota will be applicable in case of grandchildren of the employees,” DoE said.

Schools were not quite happy about the five per cent reservation for girls. 

The directorate said there is a misconception that this rule will limit the admission of girls to only five per cent of the availability seats. “This is incorrect,” the department said.

“The five per cent quota is to encourage girl education and ensure that where there are limited seats the girl students are not deprived in favour of male students,” the DoE said.The girl students will be entitled to the normal admission process for open seats, it added.

Private schools seemed like an unhappy lot as order on the management quota stood as it is. 

“We appreciate that at least the DoE has revised the guidelines. But this is not what we were expecting,” said Sonia Verma, vice principal of Salwan Public School in Rajinder Nagar.

“We wanted some autonomy in the admission process. We were hoping some seats under the management quota,” she added.

The DoE said there is a possibility of misuse of this quota. “This (management quota) cannot be accepted in a society that seeks to provide equal opportunity in education for all,” the department said. 

“The intent is to ensure transparency in the nursery admissions.” 

After revision the total seats are divided into categories like 25 per cent for economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups. Five per cent seats for staff children and another five per cent for girls in co-educational schools.

The remaining 65 per cent of seats are for the general category.

Earlier this month, the guidelines were finalised Jung who was asked by the High Court to look into the matter after an NGO filed a petition saying the guidelines were not in accordance with the Right to Education Act.

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