By: Kapou Malakar and Kinley Tshering

Soma, mother of three-year-old Ayesha, scouts the East Delhi schools regularly these days. She looks tensed, annoyed and anxious. Some may take her for an ill person but that is not true. This picture is quite apparent these days when nursery admission is round the corner. Parents like Soma are having nightmares trying hard to get their children admitted in a nursery school.

Delhi government enhanced the budget for education in its 2007 budget to 34.2% of the total allocation. The Directorate of Education (DOE) has recognized 1,185 unaided public schools and 221 aided schools for nursery education in Delhi alone.

Despite this fact, parents are still caught in the mess of admission of their children. Many parents are unable to get their children’s admission in the school of their choice as most of the popular schools are located in certain pockets of the city which is far away form their residences.

Shyama Chona, the Principal of DPS RK Puram School says, “we follow a point system and we give points to a child on the basis of location proximity (neighborhood criteria), sibling of a child studying in a school and if the parents of the child is our alumni.”

But the criteria recommended by the schools seem to have created problems for the parents.

“Everybody has a desire to make their children study in a branded school. But neighborhood point curb that chance,” says Arvind Singh, a resident of Pitampura.

Moreover, this point system does not seem to favor the lower middle class families and parents who are not graduates. “Undergraduate parents receive only 5 or 6 points where else graduate parents receive 15 points which helps them, easily get their children admitted in the school,” says Shabeena, a resident of Okhla.

DOE has already released their guideline for nursery admission. According to it, no interview will be held for parents and child, by the school authorities for nursery admission. Even Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s decision to curtail down the age of the child at three for the admission into a nursery school.