Delhi govt scraps management, other quotas in pvt schools

Wednesday, Jan 6, 2016,20:21 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | In a far-reaching decision, Delhi Government today scrapped management and all other quotas except for the Economically Weaker Sections in private schools for nursery admissions and warned institutions violating the order could be taken over by the education department.
Announcing the decision taken at a meeting of the state’s cabinet, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the management quota the breeding ground for biggest scandal in the education sector in the country and said his government will not be a mute spectator to it. The government also scrapped 62 arbitrary and discriminatory criteria listed by the schools on their websites for admissions.
However, the 25 per cent quota for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) will stay. The decision came in the midst of the admission process for nursery classes in over 2,500 private schools in the capital. 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 recommendations or seats are sold.
Management quota is the biggest scandal in the country which the Delhi Government is scrapping. 75 per cent admissions in the private schools will be under open category. Other than EWS category, there will be no other quota, Kejriwal told a press conference. Warning schools of stringent action in case of violations, he said the government will use all available options against erring institutions, including takeover.
If they do not budge, they can be derecognised or government can take them over, he said, adding the mafia had captured the education system and made it a business. The government will not tolerate this. Kejriwal, with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, seated beside him, said the decision was taken to ensure that the admission process becomes pro-people and transparent.
Private schools in Delhi have quotas for management, siblings, alumni and many others. The decision also prohibits schools from making parents to declare details like whether they smoke or drink or consume non-vegetarian food. The High Court, in an order, had asked the Delhi Government not to micro-manage the admission process following which the Education Department had allowed the schools to frame their respective criteria and put them on their websites.
Kejriwal said certain criteria put out by the 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.
The larger issue is with the autonomy of schools, the government’s move is a direct intervention in autonomy which is granted to schools by the constitution, Sehgal added. RC Jain, Chairperson of Delhi State Public Schools’ Management Association which has over 2000 schools as its members, said, having management quota or not having it is schools’ autonomy, the government can’t snatch that right.
If there is any corruption in name of quota or there is exchange of money, the government can impose a check but why scrap it altogether? Jain also reiterated Bhattacharya’s view over today’s announcement amounting to contempt of court claiming that the matter is pending before a two-member bench of High Court.