December 7, 2016

Schools may get to decide the distance to which neighbourhood rule will apply

Private schools may get the right to decide the area to which the neighbourhood criterion will apply for nursery admissions for the academic session 2017-18. The government plans to set one kilometre as the minimum distance for the norm.
This year the government is planning to make ‘neighborhood’ or the distance between a child’s home and school as the only criteria for nursery admissions. The move will impact 285 schools built on land allotted by the Delhi Development Authority. The land allotment terms state that schools cannot deny admissions to residents of neighboring areas.
The government on Monday held a consultation with schools to discuss nursery admission guidelines, implementation of DDA allotment letters, and the definition of the terms — locality and neighborhood.
Officials said the government’s plan is in line with a Supreme Court direction that says schools have to strictly implement terms of land allotment. The current consultation comes in the wake of a petition filed by ‘Justice for All’ in high court which states that as per the land lease agreement between schools and DDA, schools cannot deny admissions to students from the neighbourhood.
Deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia told schools that they will be free to define neighbourhood but the minimum distance they have to cover is 1 kilometre.
“The minister told schools that they have to implement the terms of land allotment. But the terms don’t define the limit of neighbourhood. Schools will be free to decide the distance they want to cover under neighbourhood but the minimum distance will be 1 kilometre,” sources said.
Advocate Khagesh Jha, who has filed the petition in HC, said, “Schools will have autonomy to decide the distance but fixing it at 1 kilometre means that the applicant from within that distance will not be denied admission by the school.”
Schools have been asked to send their feedback in a few days over government’s move. “We will send our feedback in a day or two,” said a school representative, who attended the meeting.
Nursery admissions for the upcoming academic session are likely to begin from January 1.