Showing posts with label AAP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AAP. Show all posts

February 17, 2017

Delhi government challenges nursery admissions order - Nursery Admissions Delhi 2017-18

The AAP government on Thursday approached the Delhi High Court, challenging a single-judge order that stayed its nursery admissions notification compelling 298 private schools, built on public land, to adopt only neighbourhood criteria.
Filing an appeal before a division bench, Delhi government contended that the single judge was wrong and erroneous and sought setting aside of the February 14 order.
Justice Manmohan in his February 14 order said Delhi government’s January 7 notification was “arbitrary and discriminatory”.
The notification issued by the Department of Education of Delhi government had made “distance” the primary criterion for admission of tiny tots.
The court had questioned the Delhi government’s decision to impose the neighbourhood restriction to only those schools that are built on Delhi Development Authority land.
The notification accorded priority to students living within a radius of one km from the school concerned. In case the seats remain vacant, those living within a distance of 3 km will get the chance for admission.
There are 1,400 private unaided schools in the capital, of which 298 are built on land allotted by the DDA.
The court’s judgement came on petitions filed by two school bodies — the Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education along with a few parents to challenge the guidelines.
Earlier, the high court stayed the government’s nursery admission notification that made it mandatory for private unaided minority schools to admit students, in the unreserved category, on the basis of neighbourhood criteria.

February 11, 2016

AAP government takes baby steps to revamp education sector...

A dilapidated building with fans ready to fall off, broken switchboards, and rickety desks and chairs has become synonymous with government-run model schools in Delhi.
Of the at least 957 schools in dire need of attention, only 54 have been selected for infrastructure improvements. However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government says it is working to improve the sorry situation and fulfil its promise made during the election campaign.
A 106% increase in the allocation of funds for education in the last budget should ensure there is no paucity of funds.
“By the end of the year, the model schools would be ready. We have been told that once this set is corrected there would be a trickledown effect and help in improving other schools,” said BK Sharma, principal of Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Lajpat Nagar II.
However, the absence of 500 new schools and 20 new colleges — as promised before a fledgling AAP stormed into power last year — will continue to be a sore spot for the state government.
It is not that the government isn’t working towards it — construction of 25 new schools and 8,000 additional rooms at existing schools has started and is expected to be completed by 2016-17, but the numbers lag behind target.
“In one year, 25 new schools... (are) still being constructed. The government should know that they just have four years left now. Next election is going to depend on fulfilled promises,” said Amar Singh, an auto rickshaw driver.
But the government remains optimistic.
“Improving the infrastructure was necessary but it is not sufficient. Henceforth, focus would be on improving quality — by capacity-building of teachers, competency-based learning, providing onsite support and improving learning levels in children,” said Atishi Marlena, special adviser to the state education minister.
Educationists feel this is not right approach to improve the quality of education.
“I have seen the way learning levels of Class 9 students were tested. By asking basic mathematics questions on division, different levels of children have been decided. Such division is completely undemocratic and discriminatory. Consulting organisations like Teach for India for improving schools is not going to help,” said Anita Rampal, an educationalist.
Another point of contention is the government’s proposal to scrap the no-detention policy — where a student cannot be held back in the same class even if he fails an exam.
Nonetheless, the slew of bills to improve the education sector, including the Fee Regulation Bill and amendment to the Delhi Education Bill to bring transparency to nursery admission, are being touted as “AAP’s education revolution”.
The state is also expected to move forward with its plan to do away with management quota in public schools — after failing with private schools, which moved court and the order was quashed.
The first year in office for the AAP has largely been about transforming primary education in Delhi, but the challenge ahead will be secondary education.
The government successfully launched the Delhi Education Guarantee Scheme — under which loans guaranteed by the state are provided to students for higher education — and will be looking to find a viable way to introduce double-shifts in Delhi University colleges to deal with the increasing number of students.
“Our focus is now also more towards skill development and building a sports university,” said Marlena.


February 5, 2016

Nursery admissions: AAP Government to challenge HC order

The AAP government on Thursday said an appeal will be filed against the Delhi High Court’s stay of its order scrapping management quota in nursery admissions.
The schools, however, welcomed the court’s decision saying their “autonomy” has been upheld.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed AAP government’s order scrapping management quota in nursery admissions in private unaided schools. The court said the decision was taken without the authority of law.
It also stayed the Delhi government’s 6 January order with regard to 11 other admission criteria. This included issues like proven track record of parents in music and sports during admission of their children, that were also scrapped.
SK Bhattacharya, President of the Action Committee for Unaided Private Schools of which 400 reputed schools are members, said, “We welcome the high court’s order and it will come as a relief for the parents who have been lingering in anxiety as the entire process has been marred by chaos due to the government’s order.”
He said, “Schools did not know what to do, parents did not know whether the process will be delayed or not. So, all the confusion has ended thankfully”.
The government had last month scrapped management quota and all other reservations except the EWS category in private schools for nursery admissions. It also warned that erring institutions can be taken over by the Education Department.
The same Action Committee had also alleged that the government’s announcement amounted to “contempt of court” as the matter was sub-judice at that time. The committee had moved court in 2014 after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had notified the scrapping of quota.

Nursery admissions: Delhi High Court stays government decision to scrap management quota

The Delhi High Court Thursday issued a stay on the Delhi government’s order to abolish “management quota” in nursery admissions in private unaided schools, while observing that the order was “prima facie without any authority”.

This leaves schools free to create their own admission criteria for this year.

However, the court clarified that the January 6 order of the Directorate of Education (DoE) has not been struck down and merely been stayed till final disposal of the petition.

“Rule 145 of (Delhi School Education) Rules, 1973, states that the head of every recognised unaided school shall regulate admissions in their school. Consequently, it was held that private unaided schools have maximum autonomy in day-to-day administration, including the right to admit students,” said the bench in its order. The bench of Justice Manmohan said the schools had agreed to defend only 11 specific criteria to be adopted under management quota. It also said the DoE could take action if a school was found “misusing” the quota. It added that “prima facie there is nothing in the 11 criteria which would show that they are unreasonable or based on whims and fancies and/or they can lead to maladministration”. The 11 criteria permitted by the bench includes qualification of parents, their proficiency in fields such as sports, music, social work, as well as points for first born child, gender specific points and for adopted children and twins. Commenting on the legality of the office order issued by the DoE, the bench noted that prima facie view indicated it was “in direct conflict” with the order issued by the Lieutenant Governor which had allowed management quota in nursery admissions. “This court is of the prima facie view that Article 239AA(3)(c) of the Constitution of India would be attracted to the present case,” said the bench. It added that management quota had been recommended by the Ganguly Committee — formed by a division bench of the high court — and “accepted and approved by the GNCTD in its 2007 order”. “The same has been implemented from November 24, 2007 to December 18, 2013. Even the office order dated December 18, 2013 issued by the Lt Governor seeking to delete management quota was quashed by judgment dated November 28, 2014,” said the court. It held that “at this stage, deletion of management quota by way of an office order is impermissible in law”. The court again said the opinion given in the judgment was “only a prima facie” one and should not be seen to affect the hearing on the larger legal issue which will now be heard in April

January 22, 2016

Nursery Admissions: Delhi High Court issues notice to Kejriwal govt....seeks reply from Kejriwal govt over management quota row

With regard to the Delhi High Court's move to issue notice to the government in connection with scrapping of management quota, the association of private schools said that the quota should not be scrapped as schools need to "oblige" people.
"Those people (government) who can't administer a public school are trying to take over admissions of private schools", the HC said reprimanding the AAP government and censured the government for its failure to improve the condition of public schools.
Meanwhile, Delhi government's additional standing counsel Gautam Narayan told the court there cannot be any such quota and "it has to go". Apparently, the government believes that schools have taken advantage of their discretionary powers. "There is rush in private schools because the standard is not good in public schools". When can't you improve public schools? You are taking over private schools. No one is addressing that issue. "Set your house in order".
It clarified that that parents may apply now but the scrutiny of applications would be subject to final orders in the petitions by Forum for Promotion of Quality Education and Action Committee of Unaided Recognized Private Schools. The SC had recognized the right of the private schools to have maximum autonomy in admissions and to set a fee structure.
Private schools had argued that the orders passed by Arvind Kejriwal-led government stating that it is contrary to and violates the judgements of the Supreme Court and High Court and affects the autonomy of private unaided schools to regulate their admissions.
He said the existing provision of 25 percent seats earmarked for students from poor families will remain in place.
"However, respondent no. 4 (Sanskriti) in sheer defiance of the circulars has not uploaded the admission criteria and points for admissions of open seats at entry level classes for the academic session 2016-17", a petition filed by a toddler's father, advocate Dheeraj Singh, has said.
Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung had in December 2013 issued a notification abolishing management quota in nursery admissions but this was challenged by the affected schools.
Earlier, the high court, in an order, had asked the Delhi government not to micro-manage the admission process following which Education Department had allowed the schools to frame their respective criteria and put them on their websites.


January 10, 2016

50 per cent extra seats opened up after abolition of management quota: Arvind Kejriwal

Scrapping of management quota for nursery admissions in private schools has thrown open 50 per cent extra seats for common man, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said, even as he asserted that the government had no intention of “interfering” into the daily affairs of
the schools.

The chief minister also said that the Delhi government will “think” about online admissions on 75 per cent open seats in the next year.

“The Delhi government has made school admissions totally transparent. Scrapping management quota, which were used to oblige recommendations of politicians, government functionaries and powerful people, has opened nearly 50 per cent extra seats for common man,” Kejriwal said at an interaction with parents seeking admission for their wards.

The government has “cut its own hands” in doing so as the school admission process will now take place in a transparent manner without any recommendations, he said.

“We are not going to benefit from it and the government and the chief minister have rather cut our hands otherwise our volunteers would bring recommendations and we would be doling out seats for admissions,” he said.

Replying to complaints and suggestions of parents seeking admission for their children, Kejriwal said the management quota and 62 criteria for admissions were scrapped as they were not “reasonable, fair and transparent”.

“We believed in schools and allowed them to upload their admission criteria by December 31. But some of the schools betrayed our faith and reserved upto 75 per cent seats through these criteria and various quota like alumni and sibling quota.”

The chief minister said that the admissions on 25 per cent seats under EWS quota were also riddled with irregularities and the government has now made this process online.

“They will have no better government than this one if they want to do good things but they will also not found any worse government if they indulge in irregularities,” he warned.

“Now, the schools will not have their say in it. Those who will not follow guidelines and rules will be decrecognised,” Kejriwal said, adding that his government had no intention of “interfering” in their day to day affairs.

“We will think about online admissions on 75 per cent open seats in the next year,” he said in reply to a suggestion by one of the parents.

The government has decided to focus on education and health in 2016 and is working on it, the Chief Minister said adding that policies should be framed in consultation with public, he said.

Attending the event, Deputy CM and Education minister Manish Sisodia said, “There was tremendous pressure from different quarters including the private schools to maintain the management quota. But we will not bow down to pressure,” he said.

The government has only “ordinary” powers to regulate schools and it needs to have more powers to issue directions and take action against them.

“We have included this power in Delhi Education Act by amending it and sent for approval of Centre so that so that Delhi government and private schools in Delhi could work in a better way,” he said.

Alleging that several schools had turned themselves into “teaching shops” through management quota, Sisodia said that the government was determined to stop them.

“Management quotas were used as a window through which money was taken and recommendations by ministers, bureaucrats and police officials were met,” he said.

The schools are creating “confusion” over admission criteria and ending of management quota, but the parents need not to worry as the government was with them, Sisodia said.

“The schools are doing this wilfully to scare the parents. But they do not need to worry as the government is with them to ensure transparency in admission,” he said.

The Deputy Chief Minister, while criticising the private schools over management quota and admission criteria related irregularities, also acknowledged their role in “maintaining quality of education” at a time when government schools failed to do so.

“They have been told that if they face legal problems in the way of doing good things we will change it.”

He further clarified that the government has accepted the demand of private schools for seats for children of teachers and members of management committees.

Asserting that improvement in education required efforts on all its aspects, Sisodia said that the government will focus on training and quality of education at government schools.


January 7, 2016

Kejriwal bouncer for private schools....

Delhi govt scraps all quotas except EWS for nursery admissions

In yet another shocker to private schools, the Delhi government on Wednesday scrapped all quotas except the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) for nursery admissions.

The decision was announced in a state cabinet meeting where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the 'management quota' the breeding ground for biggest scandals in the education sector in the country and said that his government will not be a mute spectator to it.

The state government also made some stark changes in admission guidelines for private school in December last year.

"What is management quota? Under it, you get admission if someone is recommended by a chief minister, education minister, judge, police commissioner, SHOs or by an income tax official. Either it is a recommendation or seats are sold. Management quota is the biggest scandal in the country which the Delhi Government is scrapping. 75 per cent admissions in private schools will be under open category. Other than EWS category, there will be no other quota," Kejriwal announced.

The government also scrapped 62 arbitrary and discriminatory admission criteria listed by schools on their websites. The decision came in the midst of the ongoing admission process for nursery classes in over 2,500 private institutions in the Capital.

Warning schools of stringent action, Kejriwal said the government will use all available options against erring institutions, including takeovers. "If they do not budge, they can be derecognised or government can take them over," he said.

Private schools in Delhi have quotas for management, siblings, alumni and many others. The decision also prohibits schools from making parents declare details like whether they smoke or drink or consume non-vegetarian food. "The government will not tolerate this. The idea is to make the admission process pro-people and transparent," Education Minister Manish Sisodia said.

The HC, in an order, had asked the Delhi government not to micro-manage the admission process following which the education department had allowed schools to frame their respective criteria and put them on their websites. Kejriwal said certain criteria put out by schools were very shocking and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution relating to equality before law. "The education department officials told me that court has directed not to micro-manage the admission process. I told them not to worry. Tell the court that I have done this. I will tell the court that management quota is the biggest scandal and this should be stopped. And now the cabinet has given its approval," said Kejriwal.

However, school associations which had moved court in 2014 after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had notified the scrapping of quotas, claimed the matter is still pending and hence the announcement amounts to contempt of court. There was a judgment by a single bench of high court granting autonomy to schools for deciding quotas.

"The government had challenged the judgment seeking a stay before a double bench but the matter is still pending. Such an announcement at this stage when the matter is sub-judice amounts to contempt of court," said SK Bhattacharya, President of Action Committee for Unaided Private Schools, which has 400 schools registered under it.

"Also, management quota is not just a brainchild of private schools but also of the Justice Ganguly Committee who had also supported the issue. The tearing hurry in which the cabinet has taken this decision is not understandable," Bhattacharya added.

Private schools in Delhi adopted a cautious approach in reacting to Delhi government's decision of scrapping the management quota for nursery admissions even as various associations of unaided private schools reacted strongly saying the move is an attack on the schools' autonomy.

Ashok Sehgal, Principal, Ahlcon International School and Chairman, National Progressive Schools Conference (NPSC) said, "After schools went to high court and it ruled in favour of the schools and connotations of it, they challenged it and the matter is pending. Then to bring any order at this stage is surprising especially when the admissions have already begun. It will create further confusion for parents."

AAP govt strikes off 62 criteria, management quota in private schools of capital......

The AAP government Wednesday scrapped 62 assessment criteria used by private unaided schools in nursery admissions, terming them ‘arbitrary’ and ‘discriminatory’. The cabinet approved the decision to strike down criteria including economic condition, parent’s profession or area of expertise, regularity in payment of school dues and lifestyle choices of parents like smoking, drinking and eating non-vegetarian food. 
The criteria used by certain schools for nursery admissions were “shocking”, said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal while explaining the reason behind the government’s move. 

“The Delhi High Court had said in an order that private school admissions cannot be micro-managed by the government… they should have the autonomy to decide the criteria for admission. But the high court had also said that the criteria and the admission process has to be fair, transparent and reasonable,” said Kejriwal. 

“When we saw the criteria put up on the websites of some schools, we were quite shocked. Some schools said that those children whose parents smoke, drink or eat non-veg will not get admission. Others said if parents know how to paint or are trained in music, the child will get extra points. The criteria are so arbitrary and discriminatory,” added the chief minister. 

The government has also decided to do away with all quotas in private school admissions except the 25 per cent reservation for students from economically weaker sections (EWS).

 “Lots of private schools have made terrific reservations. One school has only 25 per cent open seats… 75 per cent of its seats are reserved. There are all kinds of quotas — management quota, sibling quota, this quota and that quota. The court did not allow any quotas. We are opening up 50 per cent more seats for the public. What is this management quota in schools and colleges? References from the chief minister, deputy chief minister, a judge, a station house officer, commissioner of police, income tax department… or they are sold. It is either influence or sale of seats,” said Kejriwal. 

The chief minister said that no school will receive such ‘references’ from any member of his government. 

The Directorate of Education had, in a circular on December 8, 2015, directed all private, unaided and recognised schools to develop and adopt criteria for admissions for the 75 per cent open seats to entry-level classes for 2016-17. The criteria, it stated, should be “clear, well defined, equitable, non-discriminatory, unambiguous and transparent.”

 The process for nursery admissions in various schools started on January 1 and the last date for submitting admission forms is January 22. 

The government examined various admission criteria used by private schools admitting children to entry-level classes and also cited reasons for terming them ‘unjust’. 

Explaining why the criterion about parent’s economic condition was being done away with, the government said, “Parents seeking admission in a particular school are aware of the fee structure of the school and willing to pay the same. The fee structure of the school is same for everyone in the school. So, the economic condition does not matter.” 

On scrapping the criterion about parents’ profession, the government stated, “Parent’s profession should not be a matter for the admission of tiny tots as all children have the same rights.” 

Earlier this week, Transport Minister Gopal Rai had named 283 private schools which, he said, had “cheated’ the Delhi government. They had promised to let their buses be used for public transport during the odd-even operations in Delhi till January 15, but had not kept their pledge, said the minister. 

However, Kejriwal clarified that the decision approved by the Cabinet Wednesday had nothing to do with that. 

Special grounds and why they were removed 

Parents with proficiency in music, sports etc  This criterion is not just as it discriminates against other children seeking admission.

 Parents’ education India is a developing country and literacy rate is not 100 per cent. This is not just towards children whose parents don’t have a good educational background. 

Regularity in payment of school dues This is illogical. Parents seeking admission of their ward cannot be judged on this criterion. 

Both parents are working Equal opportunity should be given to non-working parent/single working parent/both parents working. 

Status of child This is illogical as one can’t assign status to tiny tots. 

First cousin of a student This will create a homogeneous group in a class/school which is not conducive for overall development of child. 

If candidate has proficiency in music and sports It is ridiculous to assign points for proficiency in music and sport to a child between the age of 3 to 6 years. 

Mother’s qualification  Equal opportunities of admission should be given to children irrespective of their mother’s qualification. 

Attitudes and values It is undefined and likely to be misused. 

Old parents  This is illogical and discriminatory. 

Scholar students This is illogical. No scholastic aptitude can be tested at entry-level classes. 

Permanent resident of Delhi by birth  This is illegal and a violation of the fundamental rights of a citizen. 

Similar cultural ethos  This is undefined. 

Joint Family  This criterion is not practically determinable and as such there is no basis of connecting it to the admission process. 

Special quality  This is undefined and likely to be misused. 

Language skills  It is illogical to assign points to this criterion. Small children should be on equal footing in terms of their quality as an entry-level class is the threshold of learning. 

Economic condition  The fee structure of the school is same for everyone, so the economic condition does not matter. 

Parent’s reason for approaching the school  This is undefined and discriminatory.


December 28, 2015

Delhi Nursery Admission 2016-17 ....great anxiety...

Top schools in Delhi charge anywhere between Rs. 1.5 lakh and Rs. 2 lakh, including tuition fee and admission, for a seat in nursery class. Then there is the capitation fee or donation which could range from `5 to `15 lakh, but remains unaccounted for. A well-known school in the city, which is looking for students with ‘integrity, energy and curiosity’ is demanding a registration fee of `10,000 alone for the 2016-17 admission seasons.

On December 1, Delhi government passed three bills to regulate and refund  excess fees at private institutions in an attempt to bring major reform in the education system. However, Agarwal contended that the Delhi School (Verification of Accounts and Refund of Excess Fee) Bill was a watered-down version favouring the private unaided schools. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had invited Agarwal earlier this year to discuss regulation of the fee structure. Agarwal, who presented the draft legislation on fee regulation to the Kejriwal Government in June, is apprehensive about the effectiveness of these Acts controlling the price hike. He argued that the Act appears to presuppose the fact that fee hike by private schools is per se legal and valid unless the same is challenged through a complaint and is set aside by the committee. Questions were also raised about the credibility of the Directorate of Education in handling the admission process and maintaining transparency.

There is no provision in the Act that enables a complainant to demand a school to stop charging fee that is unjustified. Besides, it would not be an easy task for any parent to make a complaint because under the new law they need the support of parents of at least 20 students for that, Agarwal pointed out.

Referring to model acts like the Tamil Nadu (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009, he said the Act has a stipulation of the prior approval of the committee before fee hike and, once approved, it cannot be further hiked up to three years. However, the legislation passed by the AAP Government has put the entire burden on the complainant, exposing the risk of being victimised.

The draft bill had proposed that if the committee is satisfied that the school has collected fee more than what was determined by the committee, it shall direct the concerned unaided private school to refund the excess amount charged with 9 per cent per interest within one month. The committee shall recommend cancellation of recognition or approval.

The AAP legislation passed is surprisingly silent on these issues. No time limit has been proposed for disposal of complaints. “The schools shall thus continue to enjoy its free hand at least throughout the process which has enough scope for inordinate delays,” says Agarwal.

Confrontations between the schools and parents over nursery admission came to the forefront in real sense from 1997 onwards when the 5th Pay Commission was implemented, and private unaided schools hiked fees to “unreasonable” levels. Several petitions were filed in courts and committees set up to bring transparency and make the schools accountable. Of particular concern were the admission criteria fixed by different schools. But a lasting solution continues to elude the stakeholders.


December 23, 2015

Delhi govt warns schools to notify nursery admission criteria by Dec 25....

Warning private schools of strict action, Delhi Government has asked them to notify by December 25 the criteria for nursery admissions for the upcoming academic session beginning on January 1.

The Directorate of Education (DoE) has asked unaided recognised schools to "develop and adopt criteria for admission which shall be clear, well defined, equitable, non-discriminatory, unambiguous and transparent".

The schools had earlier been asked to upload their criteria including points for each criterion for admission to entry level classes, other than EWS/DG category seats, for the academic session 2016-17 on the directorate's website latest by December 20. But 1,376 out of total 1,735 schools were yet to notify their criteria.
"It is regretted to note that all the schools have not uploaded their criteria and points on the module of the Directorate. Therefore, heads of all the remaining private unaided recognised schools are hereby directed to upload their criteria along with points by December 25 positively," the letter sent to defaulter schools by DoE said.

"All the schools should also ensure that a flex board containing the requisite information as directed by DoE must be put at the entrance of the main gate prominently.

Non-compliance of the order shall be viewed seriously," it added.

December 22, 2015

Delhi Government asks schools to shut from Jan 1-15 during odd-even vehicle scheme...

Delhi govt asks schools to shut from Jan 1-15 during odd-even vehicle scheme

Amid much speculation, the Delhi government has cleared the air and has announced that the schools will remain close in the national capital for 15 days from January 1 to January 15, during the trial period of odd-even vehicle formula. The decision was taken as the government would use school buses under DTC fleet. 
According to PTI reports, official notification by the Directorate of Education (DoE) said, "To make the new scheme functional with least disturbance to our children during the 'Odd Even Scheme' days, the government has decided to declare holidays for all schools from January 1 to 15 and also to procure the services of school buses for the requirement of DTC at notified rates."
The statement also said that the 15-day break would not affect studies much, as private schools usually remain closed for winter breaks, till the first week of January. It also added that the decision might get opposed by some people but the government is flexible on the number of days in the interest of health and well-being of our children for all times to come.
DoE has directed all government schools and un-aided/ recognised private schools, to declare holidays during the period. The government has also asked all the un-aided recognised private schools to provide their fleet of buses to Delhi Transport Corporation so that they can be used as public transport during odd-even formula trial period.

source: indiatoday 

Delhi Government relaxes upper age limit for Nursery admissions, sets at 4 years....

Delhi govt relaxes upper age limit for Nursery admissions, sets at 4 years

The upper age limit for Nursery admissions in Delhi schools has been fixed at four years. According to PTI reports, the Delhi government has said that the upper age limit to be followed by private unaided schools for admissions to entry level classes, with the maximum age for nursery admissions has been set at four years.
The statement released by the Directorate of Education (DoE) said, "Earlier, the minimum age limit for admissions in pre-school, pre-primary and class 1 was prescribed as 3 years, 4 years and 5 years, respectively as on March 31, of the year in which admission is being sought. Now, the competent authority has fixed the upper age limit for admissions in entry level classes as - 4 years for pre-school, 5 years for pre-primary and 6 years for class 1," it added.
The upper age limit for admission in entry level classes for differently abled children have been decided as 5 years, 6 years and 7 years respectively. "The heads of the schools are directed to note that the relaxation in upper age limit to children with mental disabilities shall be allowed as a rule and that rejection of an application for admission should be based on valid grounds and a speaking order shall be passed by the principal," the circular sent to schools said. 
Explaining the move, a senior DoE official said, "The lower limit for admission was already fixed at three years, but there was no upper age limit for admission. Logically, it makes sense for children of a particular age group to be in a particular class."
Earlier, the government had notified that the application forms for admissions to Nursery class in Delhi for the session 2016-2017 will begin from January 1. The last date for submission of forms will be 22 January. The schools have also been given instructions to publicise their admission criteria on their official website before the start of admission process.

source: indiatoday

December 9, 2015

Nursery admissions in Delhi to begin from January 1, 2016...there are no changes in the process...

Nursery admissions will begin from January 1, 2016 and there are no changes in the process. 

Nursery entries to start from Jan 1 in Delhi

In the education minister's own words, "There are basically two new changes to ensure transparency in nursery admission - list of applicants and list of admitted/waitlisted [candidates] along with marks will be given." Many schools were making such lists and scores public already. 

Manish Sisodia tweeted on Tuesday evening that the schedule will be issued. The process for admissions into the 25% EWS/DG (economically weaker section/ disadvantaged groups) categories will be announced separately. The announcement was made through Twitter and there was no notification on the directorate's website. 

Last year's process will be followed because "the amendments to the Delhi School Education Act 1973 that the Delhi government passed in the winter session of the assembly are yet to be approved by the Centre," explains director, education, Padmini Singla, "But the process has to begin." 

On Tuesday evening Sisodia announced on Twitter, "Admission schedule for entry level classes for open seats in private schools issued today. Process to start on 1st Jan 2016." He further said, "Schools have to declare admission criteria which shall be well defined, non-discriminatory, unambiguous and transparent; criteria along with the points for each and total number of seats to be displayed on flex board at entry gate of school; all the schools shall upload details of applicant students and marks allotted to each of them based on criteria on website; number of seats at entry level in each school shall not be less than the highest number of seats during last three year; and all the schools shall also upload details of children admitted and waitlisted and marks allotted to them under their system." 

"What is new about this? This has been on from 2012. Also, separating the process for EWS and general category is illegal," says lawyer-activist Khagesh Jha.

source: TOI

December 4, 2015

AAP introduced Delhi School Bill, 2015 — also known as the Fee Regulation Bill in assembly

Arvind Kejriwal
The second controversial bill is Delhi School (Verification of Accounts and Refund of Excess Fee) Bill, 2015 — also known as the Fee Regulation Bill. Introducing it in the 70-member assembly, Sisodia said, “People say that fee of a private school nowadays is more than their salaries, making private schooling for their kids a nightmare. This bill will ensure regulation and accountability.”
According to the bill, a committee headed by a retired high court judge or retired district judge or a retired officer not below the rank of principal secretary to the Delhi government will be constituted to verify schools’ accounts. If a school is found charging extra fee or diverting money, the committee can direct refund of excess fee and ask schools to re-fix its fees. The schools will also have to submit audited financial return along with proposed fee structure for next session. Schools that fail to comply may face jail term or fine.
But Agarwal and others say it gives “absolute powers to unaided recognised private schools to increase fees arbitrarily instead of controlling it” and “loot the hapless parents in whatever way the school managements like”.
“It fails to cater to the mischief of exorbitant and unjustified fee-hike for the following reasons: first, it presupposes that fee-hike by private schools is per se legal and valid unless the same is challenged by a complaint and is set aside by the committee. If we look at the existing acts on private unaided school-free regulation, particularly the Tamil Nadu (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009, there is a stipulation of prior approval by the committee before fee-hike and the increased fee, once approved, cannot be further hiked up to three years. But here, the proposed bill has put the entire burden on the complainant.
“Second, this bill suffers from various practical anomalies. The burden has been cast upon the aggrieved parent to move in compliant. This onerous task would make the parent, and ultimately the child, amenable to be subjected to victimisation. Further, once a complaint is made, no time limit has been stipulated for disposal of the same by the committee, making it liable to be reduced to futility by sheer lapse of time. Even after a complaint has been decided, there is enough room for delay as the school can file objections and even after consideration of the same and final decision by the committee, there is a provision of appeal to the director, for disposal of which, no time limit has been stipulated. The school will thus continue to enjoy its free hand at least throughout the process which has enough scope for inordinate delays. It would not be an easy task for any parent to lodge complaints because they need a minimum support of parents of 20 students to 1/5th of that of the total number of students in a class to be able to file a complaint.”
The Delhi High Court in its decision dated 12 August 2011 in Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh and others vs GNCTD and others (criminal writ petition number 7777/2009) had constituted Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee to look into the accounts of each school and find out whether the fee hike by private unaided schools on the pretext of the Sixth Central Pay Commission was justified. The High Court had further directed that if the fee-hike was found to be unjustified, it would be refunded by the school to parents along with 9 percent interest. Justice Dev Singh Committee has so far indicated more than 450 schools and the refundable amounts cumulatively come to over Rs 250 crore. However, till date, not a single school has refunded the due amounts to the parents.
Even in 1997, when the parents had approached the High Court against fee-hike on the pretext of implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission, the High Court vide an interim order had permitted the schools to increase fee by up to 40 percent, resulting in recovery of over Rs 400 crore from the parents of Delhi, which was to be subject to the findings of Justice Santosh Duggal Committee and liable to be refunded if found unjustified. However, the working of the committee was “deliberately stifled by the Directorate of Education and the private schools”. As a result, no amount has been refunded till date.
“Thus, it is our experience that once a school charges fee from the parents, it becomes next to impossible to get it refunded,” said Agarwal.
The proposed bill everywhere talks about utilisation of funds in accordance with the provision of the DSEA, 1973, but it does not talk about determination and justifiability of fees charged. If one goes in terms of this bill, a complaint, if any, by parents can only be filed after at least 18 months from the date such fee is charged. Interestingly, parents cannot file a complaint or raise grievance, the moment, the fee is increased by a school. He has to wait till the audited accounts are finalised by a school.
Suppose, through proposed fee structure, a school has increased tuition fee by 25% for the next academic year 20016-17 and someone is aggrieved of that. The parents will have to wait for over a year to lodge a complaint because they have to see the fee charged from them is utilised or not. And if it is utilised, whether in accordance with the DSEA. In case, if it is not utilised, they will have to see whether it would amount to excess fee charge and become refundable.
“In a nutshell, the proposed bill is totally bogus and does not at all address the issue of arbitrary, exorbitant and unjustified fee hike,” the lawyer added.

AAP’s Delhi education policy rings alarm bells.....

The Delhi government’s proposal to amend a provision of the Delhi School Education (DSE) Act, 1973, and the enactment of the Delhi School (Verification of Accounts and Refund of Excess Fee) Bill, 2015, may create trouble for the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Agitated private school teachers and Right to Education (RTE) activists are planning to battle the change through massive protests.
The DSE (Amendment) Bill, 2015, tabled in the Assembly by Human Resources Development Minister Manish Sisodia on 20 November proposes to delete Section 10 (1) of the Act, which guarantees that the employees of recognised private schools get salaries and other benefits equal to their counterparts at government schools.
Educationists and RTE raise serious concerns.
“The proposed amendment completely takes away the right to pay parity of all the employees of recognised private schools guaranteed by Section 10(1) of the DSE Act, 1973, which mandates that pay and other benefits of the employees of a recognised private school shall not be less than those paid to their counterparts working in government schools.
“On the basis of this provision of the law, all employees of recognised private schools are legally entitled to claim benefits under the Central Pay Commission revised from time to time. If this proposed amendment is passed, no employee would be entitled to claim benefits of pay and emoluments under the Seventh Pay Commission that will come into force with effect from 1 January 2016,” advocate Ashok Agarwal, who is also the president of All-India Parents Association, told Firstpost.
The 42-year-old provision, he said, that was achieved after a long struggle has been taken away by the AAP government in one stroke through the proposed amendment bill. “The people of Delhi voted (Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal’s party to power for protection of the workers’ rights and not to snatch them, and that too in the manner it is being done. Even the previous Congress and BJP governments in the state did not ever think of or attempt to take away such a valuable right of equal pay and dignified livelihood,” he said alleging that “this apparently has been done at the behest of the private school managements lobby”.
Reminded that the government argues that it has done so because it has “no intention of infringing on the autonomy of private schools,” Agarwal reacted strongly saying that “You (the government) are state, not a private body. You have a duty to check commercialisation and exploitation”.
“Handsome salary is directly linked to quality education. You are defeating the very objection for which you have been established,” he said.
But what are the consequences of dropping Section 10(1) of the DSE Act, 1973?
“A teacher is not a workman either under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 or the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Therefore, there is no protection of their service. They cannot even claim minimum wage as a matter of right. Hence, once the amendment bill is passed in the assembly, their status would be reduced to a domestic servant because there is every possibility of reduction of their salaries on some excuse and court may not be of any help,” he explained.
Shantha Sinha, member of India Campaign for Education, a national forum that is opposing the amendments proposed by the Delhi government, said, “The proposed amendment bill will adversely impact the dignity of teachers. They are as qualified as other professionals such as doctors, engineers and lawyers.”
Warning the government that it will have to face stiff resistance from the people of the city if it goes ahead with the proposed amendment, a teacher said on condition of anonymity, “Arvind Kejriwal has played a cruel fraud with thousands of innocent teachers and other staff of recognised private schools by snatching from them the right to pay parity with their counterparts in government schools.”
Saddened with the government’s move, another lay teacher said, “This is the only dignified profession for women. With the deletion of the section, our salary would be reduced. How will we manage all expenses?”

December 3, 2015

AAP govt plans action against nursery admission interviews, donations....

The AAP government has decided to crack down on private schools in Delhi flouting admission rules and charging under-the-counter fees, a move aimed at cleaning up the city’s education system plagued by rampant corruption and mismanagement.
Stiff penalties are in the offing. According to the proposal, any institute demanding a donation or capitation fee in any form would be fined ten times the amount charged, or Rs 5 lakh, whichever is higher.
If a school breaks rules by interviewing children or their parents for nursery admissions, it would have to pay Rs 5 lakh for a first offence and Rs 10 lakh for each subsequent violation.
The government, which hiked its budget allocation for education by 106% this year, is planning a major overhaul of the school education system. The changes will be introduced by amending the Delhi School Education Act and Delhi School Education Rules 1973.
These modifications are likely to be cleared in the assembly session beginning on Wednesday as the ruling party has 67 of the total 70 legislators.
Once the bill for education reforms is approved in Delhi assembly, it would be sent to the Centre. Changes are likely to be implemented in the next academic session starting April 2016.
The AAP government, which rode to power this February on promises of corruption-free governance, is also drafting a law under which a committee headed by a retired judge would monitor school fee hikes and about 400-500 authorised chartered accountants would scrutinise the accounts of these institutes.
“If the schools are found siphoning fee money to other accounts or making fake bills, they could face imprisonment. The penalties and jail term will be decided soon,” said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“The committee will have the power to ask schools to refund the excess money and will prescribe the fee for the next year. Also, there will be penal provision against the school and the management amounting to criminal prosecution and fine.”
After Rajasthan, Delhi too is mulling a law to end the no-detention policy in schools which came with the Right to Education. The government has yet to decide whether the policy will be restricted till Class 3 or 5.
“We are committed to improve the education in government schools, but there are also several complaints with private schools. So we are bringing in changes and will take action against those schools charging capitation fee either in cash or kind,” said Kejriwal.
Admissions for students from the economically weaker sections, for whom every school reserves 25% of its seats as mandated by the RTE Act, will now go online and become centralised.
During the admission process, the government, and not schools, would conduct the draw of lots to decide which students get picked.
There are plans to amend the Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, and withdraw a clause that says private schools should pay their teachers fees equivalent to government school teachers.
In the new arrangement, salaries of teachers in private schools will be fixed as per the minimum wages, and the government will decide on the proportion that is to be paid.
Delhi’s directorate of education (DoE) would also get more teeth. If a school does not comply with an order, the DoE would be able to take over the management or de-recognise it.
source: HT

Nursery admission rules in the Capital could change this year again....

Education minister Manish Sisodia confirmed that a law to bring in new guidelines would be introduced in the assembly session starting November 18
The “neighbourhood” criterion could be enough for three-year-olds to enroll in nursery class as the AAP government might chuck out all other norms with an aim to simplify the process — dubbed an annual headache for parents.
Education minister Manish Sisodia confirmed that a law to bring in new guidelines would be introduced in the assembly session starting November 18. “The new law will streamline the nursery admission process in the city.”
As part of the simplification exercise, a source said, a plan is being worked out to keep only the neighbourhood criterion or distance from home to school for a child seeking admission — the closer the better.
“This means, even general category students will be selected through draw of lots which is currently done for children from economically weaker sections of society for whom 25% seats are reserved under the right to education.”
The controversy-prone nursery admission process in Delhi, which normally starts in December, has undergone several changes in the past as the authorities looked for ways to make things easier.
In 2013, lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung issued a set of guidelines that reserved 70 points for children applying for admission in a “neighbourhood” school. Admissions were given to those living within a 6km radius of the school. The following year, the rule varied from school to school — from 3km to 6km.
“The neighbourhood norm is undoubtedly good because it agrees with the right to education. It will save children the hassle of travelling miles to reach school. It is not discriminatory and every child will be treated equally,” said Ashok Aggarwal, a lawyer and founder of Social Jurist, an NGO that works in the field of education.
It filed a court petition seeking a ban on interviews in 2004 and later sought scrapping of the point system when right to education was enforced in 2010. A source in the education department said the management quota, which allows 20% seats to be reserved for school authorities and children of staff, could also be junked.
Besides state-run schools, the rules are meant to regulate admissions to entry-level classes in private recognised institutions as well.
Source: HT

July 15, 2015

10-year jail for Schools Interviewing kids or parents for Admissions for Nursery admissions (Delhi)

AAP Govt. is planning to introduce the Delhi School Education (Amendment) Bill 2015.

School authorities interviewing a child or his or her parents for admission to nursery classes could face imprisonment of up to 10 years if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi has its way. With an aim to make existing rules strict to prevent arbitrariness of private schools in nursery admissions, the Arvind Kejriwal government is planning to introduce the Delhi School Education (Amendment) Bill 2015.
The draft of the proposed Bill suggests that at an entry level in pre-primary and pre-school, where children are below the age of six, schools should neither interview a child nor his or her parents. "Any person or school violating the admission rules should be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend up to 10 years. The punishment may vary provided that the court may, for any adequate and special reason to be recorded in writing, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term, which may be less than five years," it said.
There are 1100 government-run schools and 1500 private schools in Delhi. Another draft Bill being debated is on the regulation of collection of fee by unaided private schools in the national capital. "The government shall constitute a committee for the purpose of determination of fee for any standard or course of study in unaided private schools," reads the proposed draft.

July 14, 2015

AAP's draft bill bans schools from interviewing kids for nursery admissions

A draft bill submitted to the Aam Aadmi Party government could change the way nursery admission is conducted in the Capital. 
The proposal, drafted by Delhi-based NGO Social Jurist's president Ashok Aggarwal, was submitted to the government on June 29 and suggested barring schools from interviewing a child for pre-primary and preschool, where children are below the age of six, and also his/her parents. The Arvind Kejriwal government is planning to introduce the Delhi School Education (Amendment) Bill 2015, wherein school authorities interviewing a child or parents for admission to nursery class will face an imprisonment of up to 10 years. As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, no school shall, while admitting a child, subject the child or the parents to any screening procedure. The Act also guarantees free and compulsory elementary quality education to all children aged between 6 and 14.
"There are many schools that flout the RTE rules and conduct personal interviews of children as well as their parents. We have proposed to the government to make the existing rules more stringent so that no school can defy the guidelines," Ashok Aggarwal told Mail Today.
The punishment may vary provided that the court, for any adequate and special reason to be recorded in writing, imposes a sentence of imprisonment for a term, which may be less than five years, it said. There are 1,100 government-run schools and 1,500 private schools in Delhi. "The government shall constitute a committee for the purpose of determination of fee for any standard or course of study in unaided private schools," reads the proposed draft.
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