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HC tells Delhi schools no interviews

 Three-and-four-year-olds, who are cramming numbers, colors and rhymes for their interview to nursery schools, can relax. So can their parents. The Delhi High Court has barred all private schools here from interviewing children -- or their parents -- for admission to nursery classes.

The restrain order was issued on May 10, 2006 by a division bench, headed by acting Chief Justice Vijender Jain, which asked the schools to come up with an alternative admission procedure in four weeks.

About 1,600 private schools in the city take in nursery students. While some schools are unhappy with the order, many are confused regarding the alternative procedure. Earlier, the Committee of Private Unaided Schools -- which represents 270 schools -- had suggested "interactions" with students as an admission criterion. The court, however, rejected the proposal, saying "interaction" was interview by another name.

Manju Bharat Ram, chief of the Shri Ram Society, which runs the Shri Ram group of schools, said "interactions were necessary" as the child "would spend 14 years" with them. "As long as a school abides by the rules set by the Education Directorate, why should someone else tell us what to do?" she asked.

Usha Ram, Chairperson of the National Progressive Schools Conference, an association of 100 unaided schools in Delhi and other parts of the country, said in the absence of an interview, schools would have to admit children by drawing lots. What are the other options? Admit on first-come-first-served basis. Some called for reservation of certain number of seats for different categories - like the proximity of residence to school.

However, there is a catch. The court said the "neighbourhood policy" --- according to which schools gave preference to children staying nearby - had loopholes as parents gave fake addresses to get their wards admitted. The court also objected to admission of children based on their parents' background and educational qualifications and observation of children.

Asking the schools to make admission procedure transparent, the court said, "The hidden hand which gives admission should be made ineffective." Most parents will agree.


( Hindustan Times)

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