The move will benefit unrecognised primary and middle schools

In view of Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel raising the issue of impending closure of a large number of schools in the city owing to their inability to meet the qualification criteria laid down under the Right to Education Act and thus impacting the future of nearly 4.5 lakh students, Delhi Education Minister Kiran Walia on Tuesday sought to allay fears by stating that relaxed norms have been brought in to tide over the crisis.

In a statement, Prof. Walia said the relaxed norms will help all the unrecognised primary and middle schools. She also said that there would be no closure of any pre-primary school (which run nursery and KG classes).

The Minister said in the past one year, the Education Department has made efforts to ensure that the concept of education for all is fulfilled and the school infrastructure gets upgraded.

“One of the important issues that had been engaging the attention of the Government was the mandatory requirement under the Right to Education Act for recognition of unrecognised schools. The major hurdle for achieving this objective has been the land norms prescribed in the Master Plan for Delhi-2021, which provide that for recognition of a primary school the minimum land area required is 800 square metres and for recognition of middle school, the land norm fixed is 1,000 square metres.”

Prof. Walia said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had taken up the matter with Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna and also with Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath for authorising the Municipal Corporation and the Directorate of Education of Delhi Government to relax these norms, in respect of both recognised and unrecognised schools functioning in Delhi.

The Minister said the Lieutenant-Governor had agreed to the proposed land norms and directed that in view of these changes, the Government may go ahead with the proposal.

“The amendments have been made in the Delhi School Right to Free and Compulsory Education Rules 2011 and simplified application format has been introduced,” Prof. Walia said.

She said a provision has been made that on furnishing of this information, a provisional certificate will be issued by Directorate of Education for one year during which the school will be required to complete other formalities like Fire Safety Certificate, Building Safety Certificate and Health Certificate.

‘Land norms reduced’

Prof. Walia also noted that further land norms have been reduced and which would help the existing primary and middle schools to get recognition with greater ease.

She said as per the relaxed norms a primary school would now need to have a minimum area of 200 square metres as against 800 square metres earlier and a middle school would need to have a minimum area of 700 square metres as against 1,000 square metres earlier.

The Minister said representations were received for relaxation of land norms under the Master Plan for Delhi 2021 and for recognition of unrecognised schools in unauthorised and regularized areas. She said the demands made in the two representations have been met.

On the issue of closure of pre-primary schools, Prof. Walia assured that no such school having nursery and KG classes would be closed.

“We have asked all the unrecognised schools to furnish details about the functioning and 1,177 schools have registered on the website. Out of these, 955 are pre-primary schools. Since the Delhi High Court in the case regarding nursery admission has decided that the pre-primary schools do not fall under the Right to Education, these 955 pre-primary schools have been exempted from applying for recognition and they face no threat of closure,” she said.

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