New Delhi: Despite the government laying down strict guidelines about nursery admissions on the basis of a point system, several schools in the Capital are openly flouting the norm.
Rather than the child's ability, it is the amount parents are willing to shell out, that guarantees a seat at the nursery level.
A special investigation by the IBN network has revealed just how difficult it is to secure admission if you do not have the ability to pay up.
At the Swami Vivekananda School in Anand Vihar, East Delhi, parents are asked for Rs 50000 over the Rs 18000 monthly fee, even after the child has got admission.
In addition to the annual fee, the parents are asked to pay an amount of Rs 50000 as building fund, which is non refundable and is also not mentioned on any of the receipts.
Here is the text of the conversation between the parents and the school:
Parent: I have filled forms in other schools and waiting to hear from them. If my kid gets admitted elsewhere, how much will I be refunded?
School: Only Rs 500. Otherwise don’t take admission here.
Parent: What about the remaining Rs 68000?
School: No, we will only return Rs 500. We do not give a receipt for the 50000 you pay as building fund.
Parent: What receipt will I get then?
School: For a sum of 18000
Parent: So can I pay some of that amount and book a seat?
School: No, you have to pay in full.
The scene at the Vikas Bharti School in Delhi's Rohini district is no different. Despite a child's name being there on the final nursery admission list, the school demands Rs 1 lakh from the parents.
Here is the text of the conversation between the vice principal of the school and the parents.
Vice Principal: Congratulations, your kid’s name is in the shortlist. You will have to pay Rs 1 lakh in cash. The details about the other fee structure can be got from the reception outside. Fees can be paid in cash or cheque. This is a one-time payment, you have three days to pay up.
Parent: Will I get a receipt?
Vice Principal: Yes, only for the fees.
Parent: What about the rest?
Vice Principal: No, we do not give a receipt for that.
Parent: So can I give the 1 lakh and the fee amount together and then get a receipt?
Vice Principal: No, do not include the 1 lakh in that. We will only give you a receipt for the fees you pay.
Clearly, the fact that schools hold parents to ransom is no secret.
There are many other schools as well that are demanding lakhs of rupees for admission. If you can’t pay, your child will not be admitted even if he deserves it. Violating norms had become common in nursery admissions and it’s high time the government woke up and looked into the ground reality.
Some of the schools even guarantee a place in the final admission list, even before the final list is out. What's worse is that the schools even justify their actions.
The Queens Valley School in Dwarka guarantees a seat even before the final admission list is out in exchange of Rs 30000.
School: Remember there are many parents like you. You can wait and come back later, but then again it depends on how many seats will be left. We can only help to a certain extent.
Parent: Can the amount be reduced? It is so tough to get admission. In the first quarter alone it is Rs 23000. Then we have to pay more fee every quarter, in addition to the 30000 you're asking for. How will we afford it?
School: This 30000 is a one-time amount. You won’t need to pay it every year. Go to any other school of this level, you will realise we are really not charging you that much.
Parent: Admission is from 1st Feb right?
School: Don’t worry. The admission is confirmed. First list will be out on 1st Feb. You will get a formal admission number then.
Schools justify their demands citing the government order that 25 per cent of all seats be reserved for students from economically weaker sections.
Schools say: "We have no management quota. We only have EWS quota, where we have to teach kids for free. Earlier, 100 per cent of seats were liable to pay fee. Now it is not so. It is such a big school. How else do we recover our money spent?"
The school, which is supposed to bear the expense, passes it on to parents seeking admission for their children.
Parent: How much do I have to pay?
School: Rs 35000 for now. Rest you pay later. We tell u at the start itself that we will not give a receipt but you will definitely get a confirmed seat in our school.
Yet the government refuses to accept that nursery seats are indeed for sale.
"Let us find out where this is happening. We will refer such cases," said Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
Every year two lakh parents battle it our for just 20,000 nursery seats, despite the RTE Act that was expected to reduce the pressure. The inability of the government to play effective watchdog ensures that admissions into nursery remain a nightmare.