Breaking away from tradition, two schools run by the Catholic Church have decided to conduct their entire admission process online this year.
The 151-year-old St Mary’s (SSC), Mazagaon, and 147-year-old St Xavier’s, Fort, are distributing and collecting admission forms for the upcoming academic year online. This is the first time that schools under the Archdiocesan Board of Education and the Jesuit Board of Education, offering the state school board curriculum, have decided to opt for online admissions.
The idea behind going online is to do away with long queues outside schools during admissions. Every year, these schools receive more than 1,000 applications for around 100 to 200 seats. Parents even stand in queues all night to collect forms.
“We see a mad rush during admissions as we are one of the few affordable private schools in the city,” said Father Francis Swamy, manager, St Xavier’s School. “The queues are often beyond our control.”
Setting a precedent to other schools facing similar problems, the schools have made distribution and submission of application forms online. “This will make the process faster and convenient for us as well as the parents,” said Father Baptist Pinto, principal, St Mary’s School.
Parents can download the forms from the schools’ websites, and submit them between February 1 and 10. Names of the selected candidates will be displayed on February 5 for St Xavier’s and February 18 and 27 for St Mary’s.
However, some schools still have doubts over how much the online process will help make the admission process hassle-free. “In the online process, only the collection and submission of forms is online, parents still have to come to school to pay fees,” said Father Jude Fernandes, principal, St Stanislaus School, Bandra. “We intend to continue with offline admissions.”
Parents said though online submission is a relief, they would prefer to submit their forms offline. “Online submission is a good idea, but what if the school website doesn’t work for some reason? I will submit an offline application too,” said Ravi Kumar, a parent.
How online admissions are to be conducted:
* By February 1, both schools will announce the dates for filling the online application form
* Parents will have to fill the form online and also sign it digitally
* After the last date to submit the forms, schools will put up the list of selected candidates online
* Selected candidates will have to come to school to verify the documents
* Parents will also receive updates of the status of their child's admission through SMS
* It has been formed especially to protect parents from touts
* In case, parents are approached by touts offering admission to the school by paying donation, they can complain to the vigilance cell.
* Complaints can be made by parents anonymously as well. They will not affect their admissions in any way.