Aniket is five and is still going to a play school. No school took him in 2007 and, his parents fear there are no guarantees this year. He is a victim of the ambitious but maddeningly chaotic attempts to put together an admissions policy for schools.
As schools began the tortuous process on Friday announcing lists of candidates shortlisted for admission, Aniket’s parents are worried. “We have run up against the same wall,” said his father Rishabh Aggarwal (name changed on request).
“Schools have specified criteria like alumni and sibling once again. Since we both have completed our education from Mumbai and Aniket is our only son, we are not able to score any points,” said Aggarwal.
Schools are aware of many such students who missed the bus in 2007 because of the new guidelines introduced hurriedly without adequate public debate. Like Aniket, most such children spent another year at play schools. “There are thousands of children who did not get into nursery last year, the government needs to look into the vacuum,” said Ameeta Mullah Wattal, principal of Springdales School.
Wattal said she spent the entire day talking to anxious parents of such children. So what can be done about them? Not much. She wants to draw the government’s attention to this problem so that something can be done.
Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar, has decided to give such students preference. And they are not admitting any three-year-olds. “This was to accommodate children who did not get into school last year because of the age confusion. Most of the children we took are in the older age group. We gave extra weightage to children aged between four years and four-and-a-half years,” said Manju Bharat Ram, chairperson Shri Ram Trust Foundation, that runs Shri Ram Schools.
Springdales (Pusa Road), meanwhile, did not hold admissions for the pre-primary class this year. “Those children, who had got into nursery under the Ganguly committee last year, will automatically go to pre-primary. We are conducting admissions only for the pre-school class as that is the point of entry to our school,” said Ameeta M Wattal, principal Springdales (Pusa Road).