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Salman Khurshid’s new venture

Following a split in the Delhi-based Delhi Public School (DPS) Society — one of India’s most successful K-12 chains comprising 11 owned and 240 franchised primary-secondary schools which are routinely ranked among the Top 10 in the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings — Dr. Salman Khurshid, former Union minister of external affairs in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, has been appointed the first president of the breakaway Delhi Public World School Foundation (DPWSF, estb.2015). An alum and former head-boy (1969) of DPS, Mathura Road, Delhi, the blue-chip St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and Oxford University, UK, Khurshid served as a board member of the DPS Society (estb.1950) for 15 years before stepping down in 1996. “I felt the board was becoming increasingly arbitrary and commercial in its franchising policy which in my opinion was illegal,” says Khurshid, a former lecturer of law at Oxford University and currently senior counsel in the Supreme Court of India. 

Newspeg. Khurshid was recently in Bangalore to launch the first Delhi Public World School (DPWS) in Karnataka. Promoted by the Praxy Fernandes Memorial Trust constituted in 2005 in memory of Praxy Fernandes (1926-2001), former Union finance secretary, DPWS, Bangalore is fast readying to admit its first batch of K-V day scholars on its fully-equipped four-acre campus sited in the Bluejay Hills, off the Tumkur Road, next June. 

History. After the DPWS Foundation was registered in 2015, the DPS Society filed an injunction suit in the Delhi high court contending that the foundation had infringed the society’s trademark and copyright. A single judge of the court upheld the society’s claim. Appearing for the foundation in an appeal filed against the single judge’s order, Khurshid argued that the foundation was entitled to use the DPS name and crest because one of the conditions of the DPWSF is that affiliated schools can only be promoted by DPS alumni or faculty. Hence there was a deep DPS or ‘dipsite’ connection. According to Khurshid, this argument prompted the court to suggest modifications to the name of the foundation, and directed the latter to make it clear on its website and promotional literature that it had no connection with the Delhi Public School Society. 

Direct talk. “The Delhi Public World schools of the foundation are totally separate and distinct from schools owned and franchised by the DPS Society. For one, the foundation envisions a fraternity rather than a franchised school network and therefore no franchise fee is payable to the foundation. The only commonality is that all promoters of DPWSF schools will be alumni or former faculty of DPS schools and follow the CBSE curriculum,” says Khurshid. 

Future plans. By all indicators, the DPWS Foundation is a serious and mission-driven initiative. It is governed by a three-tier structure of 13 life trustees; term trustees; an advisory council and an education and resource council comprising former principals and faculty of DPS schools. The latter provides curriculum and faculty development aid and advice to affiliated schools. “The DPWS Foundation has already accumulated an impressive corpus and established over 30 schools countrywide, a number which will rise to over 100 next year,” says Khurshid.

Undoubtedly, a new star has arisen over India’s primary-secondary education landscape and the DPS Society has a fight on its hands. But the public interest will be served through overdue capacity expansion in private primary-secondary education. 

Dilip Thakore (Bangalore) 

56 Views  | Posted on: 5 Jan,2018 Add Comment  Show Comments (0)