Note for discussion with Vasant Kunj schools (at Vasant Valley School on 08/02/2005)
- MPISG PIL1: Synopsis, prayer and order
- Note of 04/05/20042 | GNCTD letter of 04/02/2005: Response3
This note is about the DMP scheme for equal access neighbourhood schooling, in pursuit of which citizens’ groups synergizing on Master Plan Implementation Support Group (MPISG) are engaged since 2000, including in PIL disposed off on 27.10.2004 with directions to stop violations in 12 weeks (about which GNCTD has now written to request names of schools). It sets out why MPISG is opposed to the free-seats approach, convinced about the DMP scheme and seeking synergy from schools and, in this context, also ideas for schools
Why MPISG is opposed to the free-seats approach
The free-seats condition is small part of the DMP scheme that stipulates numbers of various levels of schools, population for which they are to be located and standards for buildings, playgrounds, parking, etc. These mandatory provisions are designed to ensure adequate schools for mainly local students and connected to other provisions for equity, integration and amenity. From them arise lease conditions, including for free-seats and not refusing admission to local students. MPISG is opposed to free-seats in isolation, especially to:
- reduction to forced favour of an egalitarian statutory scheme
- mercenary interpretation in relation to cheap land allotment
- “controversy” undermining consensus on universal education / DMP scheme
- preoccupation at cost of sensible options for universal education / DMP scheme
- PIL spawning coercive action against schools (whose role is central to the universal education objective and by no means central to the departure from the DMP scheme)
Why MPISG is convinced about the statutory DMP scheme
The DMP scheme sets out:
- “neighbourhood school plan”, central to Kothari Commission recommendations
- framework for allocating space – crucial also for absorbing other resources
- decentralized approach at 1 lakh population, consistent with 74th amendment
- broader framework for integration and amenity, for support / conflict-resolutions
- with weight of law and, thereby, reasonable implementation potential
Why MPISG is now seeking synergy from Vasant Kunj schools
MPISG intends to succeed in its pursuit with and not against schools and authorities. It had pointed out in 2001 violations ordered stopped in 2004, but had not resorted to court options. It moved court in December 2003 because imminence of the free-seats order made an order in support of the DMP scheme almost necessary. In face of continuing disregard of the DMP scheme it now views the free-seats business as an insidious threat to the constitutional commitment for universalising education. As community in the community-schools-state array of primary stakeholders MPISG seeks synergy now for use of its PIL in support of the commitment itself – by demonstrating its feasibility by grounding an effort for progressive implementation of the statutory scheme for it in Vasant Kunj area.
Ideas for schools in Vasant Kunj
Counter-affidavits in MPISG PIL suggest that while certain schools are wilful defaulters and DDA has been remiss, the drift away from the DMP scheme is largely on account of GNCTD policies and MCD indifference. This is a mess and calls first for intent for an honest clean up.
A note of May 2004 had set out boundaries of flexibilities, confirmed by our PIL. We reiterate that the DMP scheme is mandatory, its benefits entitlements, the community interested not in who-and-what of individual violations but in restoration of entitlements at community level, viz:
- Amenity: Vasant Kunj is a residential area and facilities are to be local in character. DMP envisages 40 nursery, 20 primary, 13 secondary, 2 special and 2 integrated schools, only integrated schools as city-level. Schools not desirous of local roles should shift.
- Education (quantitative): Vasant Kunj has 40 Ha for school sites, which DMP requires to cumulatively ensure, per class, about 2000 local (including 500 (25%) EWS and 400 LIG) and 200 non-local students. Schools need to collectively ensure these DMP targets.
- Education (qualitative): A common school system requires neighbourhood schools with minimum disparity. DMP standards set minimum uniform standards and inter-school cooperation is expected to build upon that. Unfortunately, most schools here are sub-standard in terms of even DMP standards and inter-school cooperation seems not to exist
The note illustrated possibilities for the DMP scheme. In Vasant Kunj, bare essentials include:
- Collective initiative (schools): Imperative (also for Kothari Commission approach) for a community entitlements view for rectification. The layout allows East-Central-West groupings, with MCD primary school as well as communities in and out of flats in each.
- Optimizing land resources: 15 of 40 Ha school space is not allotted. There are vacant allotted sites and maybe also space that schools opt to vacate. This is best used for rectifying the most common violation of schools being on sub-standard sites.
- Raising finances (especially for free-seats): Communities are inclined to seek transfer to schools willing to enforce the DMP scheme of MCD primary school budget and from 2% cess. Differential fees for local and non-local students is also an option.
- Phasing out non-local enrolment and inter-school disparities: On this core issue schools need to offer the community a convincing plan of action. They also need to appreciate that the community is aggrieved on this count by violations, continuing past court orders.
- Community collaboration: This requires an inclusive and lawful mechanism free from arbitrariness (GNCTD “bhagidaari” mechanisms are unacceptable).
These ideas are illustrative of the framework in which MPISG now seeks synergy from schools. From authorities it continues to seek steps to enforce the DMP scheme rather than just stand-alone action against individual violations. MPISG seeks these synergies on the assumption of wider commitment to universalising education and is, in any case, determined to use its PIL in support of this amidst the dangerously drifting discourse about free-seats, etc
- 1. Synopsis, Prayer and Order in MPISG PIL WP(C) 8954-8959/2003 (Master Plan Implementation Support Group & Ors v/s DDA & Ors)
- 2. Free-seats condition in Delhi: Common School System Context imperatives and possibilities
There have been several developments since Delhi High Court ordered enforcement of the free seats condition in Delhi schools. This note outlines from the legal context of this condition, which flows not from education law but from the Master Plan for Delhi, a different perspective on the issue.
- Note of 04/05/20042 | GNCTD letter of 04/02/2005: Response3
- 3. Response to GNCTD letter of 04/02/2005