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The Capital's Shopkeepers of Merit
Enviable reputation, best facilities and outstanding academic results. Both Modern School and Delhi Public School, two Delhi-based schools, can boast of giving their best to the students. But they take a lot from them too, given their notoriety as the biggest money-makers in the business.
The school administrators deny it outright but it's an open secret: these two most sought-after schools charge hefty donations ranging from Rs 2 to Rs 4 lakh or even more during admissions. The amount varies according to the capacity of the parents.
Interestingly, there is no evidence that establishes the pay-offs in the entire deal of granting admissions. The out-of-turn admissions are always fixed through teaching and non-teaching staffers and, more commonly, through some upmarket touts who act as safe conduits to provide a foolproof channel for such transactions.
Reveals Delhi-based businessman Ashok Jain: "There is a shop owner in Bengali Market—right behind the Modern School, Barakhamba Road—who fixes admissions in the school for huge sums. Last year I got my son admitted to the school through him."
A substantial number of parents, in fact, don't mind paying and sometimes do so voluntarily—the majority of them are financially sound. "One of my friend's parents donated a bus to the school. And they did not mind it because they are quite wealthy,' said Anurag, a former student of dps. Avantika, a journalism undergraduate, remembers her father gifting a teacher of Modern School, Vasant Vihar, a 21-inch colour television for out-of-turn admission 18 years ago.
Shyama Chona, principal of dps, RK Puram, denies such allegations: "We don't take a single penny from the parents. In fact, they themselves come and ask us what they can do for the school.
"mncs and friends fulfil our requirements at a concessional cost or even free. Once a child is admitted to the school, we sensitise the parents to causes and facilities. For example, we required expensive software to set up our computer lab. So, we approached parents who are in this field. And they provided that free of cost. This is simply human resource management," she adds.
On the financial side, she says, "Seventy per cent of our revenue is used up in paying salaries." But such financial compulsions defy the speed at which dps is expanding its network of schools.
Lata Vaidyanathan, principal of Modern School, Barakhamba Road, shares a similar view: "Money is absolutely no consideration for giving admission to our school. It is purely on merit. But our school offers various facilities. We have got a huge campus and we organise important events. So parents' cooperation is sought purely for philanthropic purposes."