Reality Check India

Delhi Nursery School admissions rules 2014 – a misguided effort

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on January 14, 2014

New rules remove all autonomy in admissions from Private schools

New rules remove all autonomy in admissions from Private schools* (* not all private)

The official new nursery admissions rules  12795_12809_dt_18122013 . Note Sec 14(e) has been amended since to extend the radius for neigbourhood schools from 6Km to 8Km.

Readers of this blog will recall last years analysis of the traumatic nursery admissions season in Delhi ( Delhi nursery admission meets the RTE ). This year, the Lieutenant Gov of Delhi Mr Najeeb Jung has turned the tables on the Private Schools by abolishing all discretion in admission and imposing a rigid points and quota system on them. It is no longer surprising that an issue of this magnitude has zero comment in the media. Lets see if we can fill in the gaps.

Non Minority Private Rules

The formula

To really appreciate the issues you must spend a minute to understand the exact formula proposed. It is also important to critically distinguish between the Points vs  Quotas. Here is the formula  for unaided non-minority schools.

The entire capacity of the school is divided into four quotas :

  1. 25% Right to Education quota – where caste based and income based cross subsidized “free” seats are clubbed together into a single lottery ( per Delhi High Court order which banned sub quotas) Topic for another post.
  2. 5% For Girl students
  3. 5% For children and grandchildren of Staff
  4. 65% For allocation by points system below

The points system to be used for the 5% girls and 70% open quota is as follows 

  1. 70% for neighbourhood – defined by 8KM aerial distance. We can have another discussion about road distance, but aerial distance is the only parameter that is justifiable.
  2. 20% for if sibling is studying in school.
  3. 5% if either parent is an  alumni (typically must have graduated from the school – so if you studied LKG to 9th but moved in 10th you arent an alumni)
  4. 5% for inter-state transfers

The critical issue with the points system is the following.

All applications at a higher point must be cleared before opening applications at a lower point.

Lets consider an oversubscribed school X – all applicants trying to get their  2nd or 3rd kid in have to be cleared at points 90 before the first applications are opened for single child parents.  Similarly all 2nd children of alumni must be cleared before the first applications are opened for 2nd children of non-alumni.  If at any stage there are more applications than there are number of seats – a lottery will be used to settle the matter.  We will see shortly how this absolutely entrenches privilege as people with lower points are squeezed out.

Minority Private Rules

The rules for minority unaided schools are as following :

  1. They need to reserve 20% seats for poor in exchange for having been allotted land in the 60’s and 70’s. This has since been struck down by the Delhi High court in St Columba’s and Catholic schools case. All unaided minority schools are expected to be out unless the original land lease deed stipulated this condition.  [Source (IE): “Relief for St Columba’s” ]
  2. They can adopt any rule they want to select and admit their respective minority students. In other words, the Delhi School Education Rules does not apply to them.
  3. If after admitting minority students, these schools decide to admit Hindu students or students of a different minority than that of the institution,  they must follow the above Rules towards all seats in this category. This has since been struck down by the Delhi High Court on a petition by Society of Catholic Schools (Arch Diocese of Delhi) and Society of Minority Schools.  [Source TOI : Minority schools can define own rules ]
  4. So as it stands – all restrictions are now off minority unaided schools. This have full autonomy in the sense the law does not apply to them at all.

A misguided copy from school assignments in advanced countries

At the heart of the matter is the idea floated by left wing intellectuals that somehow or the other excellent capacity exists but is hidden by the cunning machination of private school managements.  If only we could arm twist them the capacity will be unlocked to benefit the hordes. They refuse the face the reality that there are not enough seats and no system of adjusting this or that knob is going to create new capacity. Quite the opposite.

If you are familiar with school process in USA and other advanced countries, they have a system of school assignment not dissimilar to this one. The crucial difference is that only applies to public schools (government schools). The reason for neighborhood and sibling points is to optimize school bus costs. The whole territory is divided into carefully mapped school districts with guaranteed similar infrastructure and facilities (relatively speaking) available across the board.  They are able to do it due to their first world status. Can we do it ? Can we create Delhi Public School quality government capacity across the entire breadth of the country ? This is where the stark reality of being third world hits you. Private schools can and do fill in the gaps – at the expense of dramatic variation in facilities.

By removing all autonomy in admissions followed up by a non stop barrage of defamation from left wing news outlets like The Hindu , the signaling is clear. Private players are severely disincentivised to open up new capacity. As I mentioned in the previous blog on Delhi admissions : Would you exert yourself opening a school if you have no say in admissions, fee structure, and had to de-facto nationalize your effort?

Entrenching privilege

Due to the uneven distribution of private school capacity old and established areas typically play host to traditionally good schools. By a neighbourhood points system you give these residents a reward. There was a news report how parents are busy renting out new houses in established areas just to enable themselves with the all important 70 points. This also gives rise to the anomalous situation where you can temporarily shift, get the neighborhood points, and then go back to your original residence. How does the USA say the Boston School district handle this ? It is true that you can pull that stunt there too – but most parents shift to a nearby school because remember the first world status has given them nearly equal schools across districts. This combined with the fact that buses are not provided across school districts means the parents typically abide. There is no such incentive in Delhi.

Privilege is also entrenched by Alumni points, the so called Aam Aadmi sure as hell isnt an alumni of St Columba’s , Delhi Public School, or Modern School. Without as much as batting an eyelid the left intellectuals have put their stamp of approval on a scheme which actually serves to lock out swathes of people.  Also there is no reason why siblings cannot go to different schools – personally we siblings in our household and had no problems going to different schools across town whatsoever. A corner case is that of  girls and boys schools where siblings necessarily have to attend different schools. Therefore officially disadvantaging the first child over those privileged or lucky enough to have got one kid on board is senseless. Once again a relic of mindless copying from the west where the motivations for sibling points are publicly funded schools and buses.

Gender quota is another highly debatable scheme and potentially an infringement on the equality clauses in the constitution. Since ALL capacity – whether the caste+income quota, euphemistically called EWS, under Right to Education  is  decided by a lottery. It goes without saying that when the chips fall,  girls and boys will benefit proportionally. By forcing an extra 5% girls quota – the government is essentially turning all classes – by law – in to 53 girls and 47 boys.  This combined with the demographic reality of more boys than girls  places parents with single male child in a unviable position.

Minority school exemption

Those who follow me on Twitter at @realitycheckind will know that I consider this to be the acid test of Indian secularism. Secularism is not certain types of personal attitudes by can only be tested by the kinds of laws that are passed. Right to Education comes up a cropper on this.

The only restriction on minority schools in the original notification was that if a given minority had to admit outsiders they had to do so by lottery. Consider that both Mr Najeeb Jung and Mr Rahul Gandhi are alumni of St Columbas, the old rules would have necessarily locked them out as they would have had to enter via a lottery and not by management discretion.

As per my information, there are atleast 37 Sikh, 1 Muslim, and 156 Christian minority private schools in Delhi. They not only constitute a sizable chunk of the overall capacity,  but a very large chunk of desirable capacity like St Columba’s, Carmel and others.  Since the new rules as well as the Right to Education act do not apply to them in-toto, the very rationale for these laws are dimmed. One cannot be faulted for reaching the conclusion that a cheap form of sectarianism and not any love for the underprivileged is what animates these efforts.

The legal issues are quite clear. When a new law that is confiscatory in nature is passed, the authorities are fully aware that the owners are going to seek legal remedy. They also know that two groups, viz the minorities and Hindus (non-minority)  have different standards – one is going to win on a mere facial challenge to the law and the other group is going to have to construct all kinds of elaborate arguments.  Indeed the true test of secularism is when you know you can easily pull a communal law through courts yet you hold back.

Come February the myriad of lotteries are going to cause parents a lot of anguish as reality hits them. The cheerleading propaganda efforts of the entire media which painted a rosy picture of parents supporting the move will be a distant memory even if only a few weeks old.

Those who win – feel good, those who lose – feel bad.  Those who won last year pretend they never went through the trauma this year.  It is just another milestone as we stumble along in our effort to destroy the primary education sector.

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13 Responses

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  1. pp_chn (@pp_chn) said, on January 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    one solution to this mess: home schooling. Popular even in 1st world USA / Europe :-)

  2. C1975Perumall said, on January 15, 2014 at 4:37 am

    Illuminating post. Than you.

    Why dont they insist on doing the same thing with hospitals ? Fix fees for MRI, Surgery. Daylight robbery.

    • realitycheck said, on January 16, 2014 at 2:06 am

      It is an extremely important point – I’ve given some thought to it.

      Very few in India can afford surgical costs in a private hospital and govt hospitals are simply not up to the mark in terms of access or abilities. This is in fact such a huge problem that people actually are forced to give up their near and dear ones. So why arent hospitals like Apollo, Fortis, etc not undermined by the left brigade to the same extent as private schools. Why cant govt prescribe MRI and surgical costs as a ratio of fixed costs ?

      The best answer I’ve come up with is : Self interest.

      One remarkable feature of the education sector is this. If you have your kid already in school, or have older kids already in college – any level of screwing with private effort has zero impact on you. So the friction point (as correctly identified by the leftists) is only parents suffering admissions in any given year. Also notice that most vocal parents are accommodated in other ways so individual dissent is capped. For example senior babus have special schools for their kids, there is enough discretionary capacity in minority schools to quench the hot rods in media, politicians etc. Even though education impacts 100% of the population, in any given year my estimate is only around 0.5% is impacted and the other 99.5% generally let these policies pass without comment. You can maybe get a nod of sympathy.

      Hospitals are the polar opposite – no one knows when they will need it. So they apply a lot more intellectual discipline before meddling with it.

      Boils down to a very unsophisticated self-interest driven policy making.

  3. Hemen Parekh said, on January 15, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Transforming India

    Here is a PARTIAL list of initiatives that may transform India – if successful

    But let not ” Fear of Failure ” prevent us from undertaking a ” Out of Box ” thinking

    In a democracy , people have a right to differ

    Hence , many will not agree – but they must have their say

    In the end , there is only ONE WAY to find what works – and what does not

    BY TRYING OUT !

    MY LIST ( not in order of importance or priority ) :

    > Food Security Bill

    > Connecting 2.5 lakh panchayats thru broadband

    > Aakash Tablets for 220 million students

    > Lokpal Act / Delivery of Services Act ( ” Magic Wand ” App ? )

    > Bank Transaction Tax / Demonetization of Rs 1000 currency note

    > Aadhar Identification Card

    > Electoral Reforms / Right to Recall ( ” VotesApp ” mobile App ? )

    > CAG audit of Private Companies using Government resources

    > 4G Wireless Internet all over India

    > Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor

    > Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata Industrial Corridor

    > Natural Resources Allocation Policy

    > Political Party’s Funds under RTI scrutiny

    > Social Media based marketing

    > Liberalization in FDI ( Entire economy – not just retail )

    > Direct Transfer of Subsidies to poor

    > Government funding of Elections

    > Interlinking of Major Rivers

    > ” India Post Bank ” with 139,040 branches in Rural areas

    > Bank A/C for every adult by 2016

    > Divestment / Closure of loss-making / bleeding PSUs

    > Imparting skills to 500 million youth ( NSDC )

    Here are my own suggestions :

    > BLACK MONEY

    * As incomes climb ( for an individual or for a corporate ), reduce taxation
    rates for each higher slab ( reverse of present system )
    Eliminate incentive for tax – evasion
    Reward honesty / efficiency / productivity

    * Introduce Amnesty Scheme for black money declaration
    No questions asked ( re Source of funds ) for investment in specific
    Infrastructure Bonds , with tax – free interest for 10 years

    > JOBS

    * With ever-increasing mechanization / automation in every sector of
    economy , there is no way , we can create 12 MILLION new jobs ,
    either in Organized or Unorganized sectors , year after year

    Our only hope lies in creating ” SELF – EMPLOYMENT ”

    To generate massive self – employment , provide generous , low interest
    loans and ” Tax Free ” income (up to Rs 5 Lakh/ year) for self-employed

    * Create an ” Online Job Exchange ” to replace 943 existing physical
    Employment Exchanges , with 42 million current registrations

    Call it ” GLOBAL-RECRUITER ”

    Require ALL job-portals of India , to RSS feed into Global-Recruiter ,

    # Every single job advt posted everyday( including current )
    # Every resume posted everyday ( including current )

    Make these jobs and resumes ” searchable ” from ALL the job-portals ,
    irrespective of , on which job portal , these were posted

    After matching ” JOBS ” with ” RESUMES ” , Global Recruiter to send out
    daily Job – Alerts on the smart phones of the jobseekers , thru a mobile
    App , ” MY JOBS ” – against which , candidates can apply from mobile

    Make it mandatory for every Smart phone and Tablet sold ( or given away
    free ) in India , to pre-install ” My Jobs ” App

    And , most certainly , those 9 million Aakash – 4 tablets for which tender
    opens on 28th Jan 2014

    Will Narendra Modi / Rahul Gandhi / Arvind Kejriwal etc , incorporate these , in their poll manifestos for April 2014 election ?

    * hemen parekh ( 15 Jan 2014 / Mumbai )

  4. raman said, on January 16, 2014 at 11:44 am

    instead criitcising the decisions you should come with a solutions. This is practically unbiased decision taken by government. Government has the authority for school license. Please note christain & minority which has come up with schools, how they got the fund for intial setting up of the school further so many christain school takes donation which is not accounted

  5. Amit Bhargava said, on January 25, 2014 at 8:00 am

    You are spot on in your analysis of the situation. Please check this goo.gl/6pX0CD and kindly get back to me please.

  6. Amit Bhargava said, on January 25, 2014 at 8:38 am

    When I say that you are spot on in your analysis, I mean that to the “extent of your analysis of points system”. Both the points and quota system for “General Category” seats should be done away with.

    I do not agree that “Private players are severely disincentivised to open up new capacity”.

    I must also state that schools run by minority institutions cannot be allowed full freedom so as to allow them to discriminate between one child and another, within or outside of monority as the case maybe.

  7. Delhi’s school admission troubles said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:31 am

    […] With these intrusive guidelines the entire admission process even in private schools has come under the defacto control of the Lieutenant Governor. The private schools in the region, under the umbrella of Action Committee for Unaided Recognized Private Schools had filed a writ petition in the Honorable High Court of Delhi challenging the legality of these guidelines and to protect the autonomy of private schools from being completely eroded. Team CRI had the opportunity and the privilege of conducting an email interview with Shri S.K.Bhattacharya, who is the president of Action Committee for Unaided Recognized Private Schools. For a good background on the topic read this post on the Reality Check Blog: link […]

  8. […] in the nations capital.  I’ve blogged about the Delhi nursery admissions issue last year and this year […]

  9. Shibham said, on March 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    good to see that so many people are taking initiatives, but there is one thing more to it Preschools ans schools are also lacking on education part, none has proper curriculum, read more about it here – http://tinyurl.com/reality-check-schools

  10. […] dangerous part and is directly responsible for the 7 month lottery ordeal in the national capital last year. Its about to start this week for the next year. Once again remember the balance – the RTE […]


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