New Delhi: Nursery admissions began on Friday in over 1800 private unaided schools in the national capital where parents were confused about the enrollments under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) which has been made online for the first time.
Certain technical hiccups were witnessed in the morning which were restored later in the day. The webpage for EWS online nursery admission was down barely few hours after the process begin. Also, the website of Queen's Mary School in Model Town said "hacked".
The government's move to make the EWS admission process online for schools recognised under Delhi School Education Act and Rules (DSEAR), 1973 and continue with the offline process for schools recognised under the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, saw parents hassled about which school is under which category.
Also, computer access was also seen a problem for parents under the EWS and Disadvantaged Group (DG) category.
"If there was an offline form I would have tried to seek someone's help to fill it, now I need to look for someone who knows computer and internet and can do it on my behalf. Also all the follow ups will be online which means I need to bank upon someone I am yet to find," said Munna Rajbhai, who runs a tea-stall in Model Town.
Asha Devi, who works as a baby-sitter in Mayapuri said, "I went to a cyber cafe and asked the owner to do it for me. He charged me Rs 100 for it. But I am relieved that it is done".
The confusion is not only among those seeking admission under EWS but also general category.
Nita Vashishth, who came to Modern School Barakhamba road for her daughter's admission said, "Not all schools are selling offline forms. We had to personally visit certain schools to know what their process is like. How many schools can you cover in one day?."
The Directorate of Education (DoE), on its part, has uploaded a 13 minute video on YouTube instructing applicants on how to fill the forms. Applicants have to register first and only then apply, there is also a separate link and page for queries.
The instruction booklet asks the users to be "extra careful" as this will be used to "reflect the schools in different distance ranges from your residential area." Lists of schools within one, three and six kilometres will be displayed and applicants will have to rearrange the names in the order of their preference.
The nursery admission process in Delhi schools will begin from January 1 and conclude on March 31.
While the last date for submitting the application is January 22, the first list will be out on February 15 followed by another list on February 29.
The admissions to the entry level classes in private schools under the EWS and DG categories will also be carried out in the same schedule.
DoE had asked all the unaided recognised schools to "develop and adopt criteria for admission which shall be clear, well defined, equitable, non-discriminatory, unambiguous and transparent".
While despite repeated warnings from the government, 35 schools are yet to notify their admission criteria, the department had yesterday pulled up schools adopting arbitrary admission criteria including negative points for non-vegetarian and smoker parents, and asked them to make corrections.
The controversy-prone nursery admission process in Delhi which normally starts in December has undergone several changes in the past as the authorities looked for ways to make things easier for parents.
According to guidelines issued by DoE, all schools shall comply with the directive that the number of seats at entry-level shall not be less than the highest number of seats in the entry class during the years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-2016.
From this year onwards, the government has also fixed an upper age limit for admission to entry level classes with the maximum age for nursery admissions being set at four years and five and six years for pre-primary and class-I.