The Delhi government has decided to discontinue admissions in primary classes in its Schools of Excellence from this year onwards and instead, focus on converting the schools into specialised branches for a particular discipline —like Science, Arts or Skill Education — officials familiar with the development said.
There was no immediate clarity about admissions to senior classes in such schools.
Nirupama Abhyankar, deputy director of education (Schools of Excellence), said, “Admissions for junior classes to these schools will not be conducted this year. We are thinking of converting these schools into specialised branches of excellence for higher classes.” The Delhi cabinet on March 22 had approved setting up 100 Schools of Specialised Excellence across the city for students of classes 9 to 12.
In 2018, the Delhi government started six Schools of Excellence across the city which are supposed to be model, resource-rich English-medium schools. Before the pandemic struck, the schools conducted admissions to classes 9 and 11 through entrance tests and conducted regular admissions for Nursery to Class 2. However, last year due to the pandemic, the schools did not conduct any admissions to primary classes and only admitted students in senior classes on the basis of merit.
Some parents, who were aspiring to get their children admitted to these schools this year, said they were disappointed by the education department’s decision.
Shweta Yadav, 26, a resident of Patparganj who wanted to get her three-year-old daughter admitted to the School of Excellence in Khichripur, said, “We got to know that these schools provide learning facilities on the lines of private schools at little to no fees. It seemed like a good option, especially because the perception of government schools in Delhi has changed over the past few years. If admissions to Schools of Excellence don’t happen this year, I will get her admitted to a private school.”
M Shariq, principal of School of Excellence, Kalkaji, also said, “We have been receiving queries from parents on the admission process that usually begins in March. We haven’t received any official order yet regarding the admissions.”
Confirming that no new admissions will take place in primary classes, a senior education department official said, “The students already studying in these schools will continue and no new admissions will take place. English-medium was not the exclusive quality of these schools and there were various things like pupil-teacher ratio and providing other facilities to students. The bar of these facilities have been raised in other government schools and parents can opt for those schools as well.”
The principal of another School of Excellence, requesting anonymity, said, “We did not conduct admissions for primary classes last year either, as there was a plan to convert these into specialised schools in particular areas like Science, Arts and Skill Education.”
Mamata Dhingra, who teaches Mathematics at School of Excellence, Dwarka, said, “Our school is likely to have a Science specialisation. Work has already started on the laboratories and we too have been consulting on the other necessary resources that will be provided to the school in the days to come.”