New Delhi: Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung has defended his decision to cancel the "management quota" in the criteria for nursery school admissions, and told the Delhi High Court that "commercialisation of education" cannot be allowed.
Jung filed his response on a petition by the Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools against the December 2013 guidelines for nursery admission in the national capital. The matter will come for hearing March 25.
In his affidavit, Jung sought dismissal of the plea, saying: "Commercialisation of education is prohibited. Educational institutes cannot be allowed to run as 'teaching shops' as the same would be detrimental to equal opportunity to children."
The Dec 18, 2013, notification from the lt. governor cancelled the "management quota" and introduced a point system giving maximum credit to children residing within an 8-km radius of the school.
The court also refused to suspend the new norms for this year's nursery admissions. It, however, allowed the private schools' plea to be heard on merit at a later date.
The schools complained mostly on the omission of management quota and the 8-km radius criteria.
On his move to cancel the management quota, Jung said the concept of management quota was applicable to professional education, where "merit" is the criterion for admission.
"When the raison d'etre for recognition of a school is that it fulfills a 'real need' of the locality, its autonomy cannot extend to choosing students beyond the locality," he said on the neighbourhood criteria.
The lt. governor also said the private unaided schools were seeking "an undue privilege in the garb of autonomy in the matter of right to admit students of their own choice".
Jung said that in the absence of criteria for nursery admissions, both parents and children are subjected to various screening procedures including written tests and interviews.
Section 13 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, explicitly prohibits any kind of screening procedure for admission of children in schools, including private unaided recognised schools.
"Needless to say that the experience is not only traumatic for the children, their parents but also a pathway for corruption," Jung said.