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Circular silent on admission schedule, NGO to move court

Indian Express, 23 December 2007

New Delhi A Delhi High Court order instructing the Directorate of Education (DoE) to direct recognised schools to follow all nursery admissions guidelines, issued last week, has not been implemented fully by the directorate.

While a circular issued by the DoE does direct the schools to display the break-up of points on their notice boards and to respond to admission-related complaints within five working days to the concerned district deputy director; it does not mention anything about the admissions schedule these schools must follow.

Centre for Civil Society, the NGO that took up the issue in court on behalf of parents, is now considering approaching the court once again, after it has collected information about schools that have violated the guidelines and have not seen any action being taken by the DoE.

“We will file another petition. The order said the DoE has to ensure the schools follow the guidelines in every respect,” CCS associate director R Baladevan said. “If the court orders and the DoE doesn’t follow them, it is disregarding the court’s orders. The order clearly states that all guidelines must be followed, including deadlines,” he said.

In the petition filed last week, legal counsel Vikramjit Banerjee said a DoE press release dated December 18 doesn’t state whether the compliance of the time limit set out in the guidelines would be ensured by the DoE. Responding to the petition, the court had said the DoE must ensure compliance with regards to the schedule.

According to the DoE guidelines, schools were required to communicate to the government their schedule for nursery admissions by December 14, failing which they would have to adhere to the DoE’s schedule. As per the authority’s schedule, schools must continue to sell registration forms from December 15 to 31 and accept forms until January 7.

But the DoE has not disclosed how many schools have informed it about their schedule for nursery admissions, Baladevan said. In a press release last week, the DoE said 21 schools had been issued notices for violating the guidelines, while 98 others had informed it about their admission criteria.

“If we are saying the schools have autonomy, it can’t be at the cost of the students and their parents. You can’t possibly check websites of all schools for admission dates,” Baladevan said. “It makes no sense if the school has already followed a different schedule and then communicates it later to the DoE. It defeats the very purpose,” he said.

Elsewhere, National Progressive Schools Conference chairman S L Jain said schools will follow the circular. If there was anything on the admission schedule, they would have approached the court, as too many orders have created a lot of confusion for the schools too, he said. “We will only go by the circular. We only have to display the distribution of points,” Jain said.

The Supreme Court gave the schools autonomy in terms of framing the admission schedule and now the new High Court order contradicts it, he said.

But for parents, who have the highest stake in the issue, nothing short of a uniform admissions process will ensure transparency. Many schools in the city have already closed their admissions process and though a few pushed their dates to appease the DoE, they have only accommodated one or two students so far, parents said.

“The problem is we stand to lose money. If we take up seats because the school will close admissions, we are asked to pay the admission fee and other funds, some of which is not even refundable, and then if we change our minds, our money is gone,” one parent said. “Let them have one schedule and it make it transparent,” the parent said.

DoE officials could not be reached for comment.

Details of complaints

The DoE circular also instructs schools to respond to complaints and the details of compliance should be submitted within five working days to the concerned district deputy director. Once this is done, the DoE will display the details on its website http://www.edudel.nic.in

Read the story in Indian Express



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