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Nursery School Admissions!!!

It’s that time of the year in Gurgaon, when parents seeking nursery school admissions for their children steel themselves for the ordeal ahead. Apart from the enormous capitation fee, the hapless parents face written tests,  interviews and group discussions before the child can approach the school gates. The child is also interviewed sometimes, and parents pray to every god that the innocent babble of the child does not spoil his/ her chances of admission.

Many of my colleagues have taken leave from office this week to attend this charade. The interview questions require parents to be experts in subjects ranging from child psychology to world economy. Parents who have not developed high aspirations for the child or framed their expectations of the school in definite terms stand little chance of winning the coveted admission.

Check out some of these questions before you even think of admissions.

a) What do you want your child to become?

b) Explain the role of ‘Books’ in a child’s life?

c) How will you develop the qualities of sharing and caring in the child?

d) Freedom = Responsibility. Comment?

e) How do you enhance the motor skills of your child?

f) Can we provide some kind of justification on forcing our wishes onto the child?

g) What has been your child’s personal milestone till today in your opinion?

h) What are your views with respect to the joint family versus nuclear family while focusing on the child’s overall development?

Now these are only a tiny sample of the volley of questions awaiting the parent. It is no wonder why many parents are paralyzed with fear when it comes to school admissions. During our coffee table discussions there was unanimous agreement that this system of interviews benefits only the schools by helping them to winnow out children likely to underperform for any reason. In the light of the huge demand for schooling, education has become a zero sum game benefitting only the schools. Schools also demand to know whether the parents are financially capable enough to afford the overhwelming educational expenses. It often happens that both parents have to work to support the houshold. However, schools want to ensure that one of the parents, highly qualified he or she may be, stays at home to spend “quality” time with the child. So we have the classic catch-22 situation, one has to work to provide the child “quality” education and care the school purportedly offers, but at the same time, one needs to stay at home so as to spend quality time with the child.

 We have reached an age where education has become big business. It no longer contributes to nation building. The multitude of international schools which have cropped up all over NCR exploits the vulnerability of parents to the hilt. No one in Gurgaon in their right mind would dare to send their child to a government school. There are no teachers and no infrastructure.

Despite the exalted ideals expounded by schools during admissions, the children have to take extra tuitions to achieve good results. Parents too have to burn midnight oil to work through the gargantuan homeworks and assignments given to the children.

Considering the difficulty of school admissions, I often wonder if it is worthwhile to have a child. I’m not exaggerating. Perhaps, the pleasures of bringing up a child out weighs the pains. But some of these pains are avoidable. Psyching out the child and putting enormous pressure on parenthood takes the joy out of it.

A school is a sacred institution. But today its ideological foundations have eroded under economic pressure. The school is now a business centre and children and parents are the raw materials to be manipulated to further profits.

In my opinion, the goverment needs to act, on one hand to improve the infrastructure and incentives provided to goverment schools and on the other hand by bringing legislation to arrest the day light robbery practised by wayward schools motivated solely by business interests.

Categories: Musings
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