Race for nursery admissions: Are govt schools passe?

  • Aneesha Bedi, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 21, 2015 18:06 IST
Parents reading details of the admission process at Government Model School, Sector 10, Chandigarh on Monday. (Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

Owing to the less number of forms for nursery admissions submitted at the city’s government schools year after year, various government school heads are anxious if it will be any different this year.

With parents already rushing to city’s top private schools to get admission forms for their children, government school principals feel their institutes are equally good and offer all essential facilities. The forms received are handful in number as compared to the excess number of forms received by the private institutes in Chandigarh.

A look at the demand of seats in the private and government schools is enough to depict the trend.

Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, which is known to be among the most-preferred government schools here, received 60 forms against a total of 90 seats for pre-nursery class in 2013, followed by a slight increase in the number last year. GMSSS, Sector 8, received 24 forms against a total of 45 seats in the same year, while GMSSS-37B received only 15 forms against 45 seats.

While the number of students getting enrolled in nursery has marginally increased post that, the figures are in sharp contrast to the private schools that get three to four times more applications than the available seats. In the same year (2013), Delhi Public School, Chandigarh, got over 750 forms against 150 seats, Vivek High School got more than 800 forms against 95 seats, Saupin’s got over 475 forms against 90 seats.

The education department, in 2013, had even considered changing the process of draw of lots to first-come, first-serve basis after seeing the response to admission in the city’s government schools.

At present, there is one government nursery school, eight primary schools (out of which seven primary schools offer nursery classes), 39 senior secondary schools (out of which 38 have nursery), 13 middle schools and 51 high schools together that have pre-nursery and nursery classes as per information received from the UT education department, said deputy director, school education, Chanchal Singh.

Principal of GMSSS-10 and president of the Government School Principals Association Harbir Anand said, “We have 40 seats in our school. We hold draw of lots only if we receive more than 40 forms. Else the admission is based just on the eligibility criteria.” Anand also said he was against the walk-in interview process since a child cannot be expected to express in detail at a tender age.

Principal of GMSSS-19 Sukhneer Sekhon, who shared that the eligibility criteria and essential details had been put up on the school notice board on Monday, said draw of lots are held for the 45 seats in her school. Last year, about 35 seats were filled. The age criteria for the admission, like other government schools is three plus (till March 2016).

Talking to HT, principal GMSSS-16 Anujit Kaur said preference is given to students staying in the school’s locality. “For example, I have been allotted Sector 15, 16 and 17 in terms of admitting children, so we ask for residence proof, birth certificate/age proof and at times the vaccination certificate as well as caste (in case of SC/ST).”

Meanwhile, Ramesh Yadav, a resident of SAS Nagar, said he preferred to get his child admitted to a private school as he felt the facilities offered at the city’s government schools for nursery class weren’t up to the mark.

GMSSS-16 principal Anujit, on the other hand, said all essential facilities were there and pictorial walls, play way stations had been set up to give value addition to kids studying in primary classes at the government schools.

Pooja (name changed), who is a part of the admission committees in one of the local government schools, said, “Parents approach the government schools only after private schools declare their list of eligible candidates. Status-conscious parents are preferring private schools under social pressures these days.”

Throwing light on another reason for this trend, Sarva Shikhsa Abhiyan Teachers Welfare Association (SSATWA), Chandigarh, president, Arvind Rana said, “Many parents in the periphery who are less aware and relatively more unprivileged end up admitting their kids in the nearest government school while those who put up in sectors in the city prefer admitting their child at low fee private school and opt for government school as a last resort.”

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