Brewing revolt

There are auguries of dissension and stirrings of a brewing revolt within the pan-India Delhi Public School (DPS) chain. One of the most well-known and respected brands in primary-secondary education, particularly within the country’s aspirational new middle class, for dispensing high quality education under the franchise model countrywide, the number of DPS schools has multiplied to 115 across the country — with some franchised schools operational as far afield as Dhaka, Singapore and the UAE.

And it’s indisputable that under the leadership of empowered principals, usually selected by the Delhi Public School Society (estb. 1972) — an august body of retired army top brass, judges and former school principals — DPS schools have matured into institutions of excellence. In the EducationWorld Survey of Schools 2007, DPS, R.K. Puram and DPS, Mathura Road were ranked the country’s No.1 and No.3 most respected schools across all categories. In the more rigorous EW Survey of Schools 2008, although the ranking of the top two DPS schools in the all-India day schools league table slipped to 12 and 47, nevertheless DPS, R.K. Puram was ranked first countrywide under the all-important parameter of academic reputation.

Be that as it may, with a new generation of idealistic, well-educated and more confident edupreneurs signing up as DPS franchisees, the stirrings of a revolt within the ranks is becoming discernible. A proposal to raise the annual royalty payable by franchisees to the DPS Society from Rs.5 lakh currently to Rs.25 lakh has generated considerable indignation. Moreover some franchisees are demanding a reduction in the number of DPS Society directors on their school boards, and are questioning the tradition of the society appointing the principals of newly enfranchised schools. Against this backdrop, the sudden resignation of the Oxford-educated heavyweight Congress party politician Salman Khurshid, hitherto chairman of the DPS Society, has thickened the plot.