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School awards extra points to vegetarians, non-smokers

The decision of the school, Mahavir Senior Model School, to allot five points for each category has met with surprise from admission seekers.

New Delhi | January 23, 2014 3:12:58 am

Minority schools in the capital may have got the go-ahead from the High Court to set their own parameters. But one school has taken nursery admission to a whole new level by showing preference for children whose parents are vegetarians, non-smokers and teetotalers.

The decision of the school, Mahavir Senior Model School, to allot five points for each category — vegetarians, non-smokers and teetotalers — has met with surprise from admission seekers.

The move has also prompted questions on the purpose of setting such a criteria.

“We are a Jain minority school. Jains are very strict about their diet. Vegetarianism is a way of life for our community. Smoking and consuming alcohol is not good for anyone. Gandhiji said so himself. So, we have decided to give points to anyone who doesn’t practise any of the three,” principal S L Jain said.

“Over the last few years, the school has been framing similar criteria. Till last year, parents could at least complain about it. But they can’t now, since minority schools are free to devise their own criteria. But the big question is — is it fair? More importantly, is it logical? Do they have some sort of a diagnostic tool to test if a person is a vegetarian, a non-smoker or a teetotaler?” Sumit Vohra, founder of parent, said.

Besides points for vegetarians, smokers and teetotalers, the school will also allot five points to children with special needs, five points each if the mother or the father are alumni, 10 points for the girl child, 15 points for sibling and anything between 20 and 45 points for pre-defined neighbourhood areas.

The Department of Education, said they could not do anything about the criteria set by Mahavir Senior Model School.

“The parameters are ridiculous. But, minority schools have the power to devise their own rules according to the High Court ruling. So nothing can be done about it,” Padmini Singla, director of Department of Education, said.

Asked how the school would verify which parents were vegetarians, non-smokers or teetotalers, Jain said they would take into consideration “the parents’ own declaration”.

“Parents will be asked to declare their dietary preferences and habits. In case the information is found to be false, we will cancel the student’s admission,” Jain said.

On the admission front

New Delhi: The nursery helpline on Wednesday received 1,410 calls and registered 196 complaints. “Majority of complaints pertained to sale of forms and schools asking for residence proof from parents,” Education Minister Manish Sisodia said. According to Padmini Singla, director of Department of Education, others complaints included schools not giving out forms offline, absence of display boards outside schools and twins not being considered for sibling points.

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