The entry-level admission process to Delhi’s private schools — a process spanning over three-and-a-half months and consisting of several rounds to admit children into nursery, KG and class I — began Friday.
According to provisions of the Right to Education Act, all recognised private schools of the city are required to reserve 25% of their seats for children from economically weaker sections, those from ‘disadvantaged groups’ and children with special needs. Admissions against these are conducted through a centralised process of draw of lots by the Delhi government's Directorate of Education (DoE), for which guidelines will be issued later by the government.
The process, which commenced Friday, is for the rest of the ‘open seats’ in these schools — a hugely competitive process with parents vying for a spot in the more well-known schools.
In an attempt to keep admission to these early classes as objective and fair as possible, a ‘points system’ is followed. In this, schools are free to select a set of criteria against which applicants will be allocated points.
The most common criteria chosen by almost every school is that of distance. The second most common criteria is the applicant having a sibling in the school, or the applicant having a parent who is an alumni of the school.
While schools are free to select their criteria, there is a list of 51 criteria which are disallowed by the Directorate of Education on grounds that they are discriminatory. Among these are parents' education, professional field/expertise, vegetarianism, non-alcoholic, non-smoker parent, and attitudes and values.
At Vasant Valley School, 30 points are allotted to those living within 10 km of the school and 15 points for those living beyond 10 km. At Springdales School Pusa Road, 39 points are allotted to those who reside in list of areas provided in the registration form, while the rest are allotted 29 points. At Air Force Bal Bharti School, those living within 5 km are allotted 25 points, those living between 5 and 10 km are allotted 20 points, and those living between 10 and 15 km are allotted 15 points.
Apart from the alumni and sibling criteria, there are some additional criteria selected by schools. Air Force Bal Bharti School allots 10 points for children having only a single parent, 10 for a single girl child and points for children of former or deceased defence personnel or IAF employees.
The junior schools of DPS RK Puram offer points for girl applicants, as does Mother’s International School. Vasant Valley School offers points for parents’ achievements in sports, social service, the arts, awards received and for original research and publications — 2 points if it is at the state level, 4 points if it is at the national level and 6 points if it is at the international level.
Apart from these schools, most schools reserve 20% of their seats under a ‘management quota’, which are filled at the discretion of the school management. The Delhi government had attempted to scrap this category but this was challenged in the Delhi High Court by an association of private schools. The High Court had upheld the challenge observing that “promoters of a school who make investment at their own personal risk are fully entitled to full autonomy in administration, including right to admit students”.