Fewer nursery admissions in MCD schools, SDMC kicks off special drive
Principals of many of these schools pointed to the reverse migration caused by the lockdown enforced to contain the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason for the low interest and raised concerns about the “drop” in overall enrolment.Updated: Aug 15, 2020 09:30 IST
The schools run by the three civic bodies in the national capital are seeing fewer admissions in entry-level classes of nursery and pre-primary this year with some schools not getting even a single enrolment in these classes as yet.
Principals of many of these schools pointed to the reverse migration caused by the lockdown enforced to contain the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason for the low interest and raised concerns about the “drop” in overall enrolment.
For instance, at a South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) school, officials said the school did not get even a single admission to nursery and pre-primary (KG) this year. The school principal, who wished not to be named, said, “We are still waiting for parents to approach us for admissions to nursery and pre-primary. These are the entry-level classes in which we get maximum admissions every year. But this year, we are getting more admissions in other classes. This is a worrisome trend.”
The principal of another SDMC school, again on condition of anonymity, said, “We have got seven admissions in nursery so far. Majority of our students are from working-class families and many such families residing in this area have left for their home states in view of the pandemic. Fathers of some of the children have visited the school to enquire about admissions. They said they will get their families back only after the Covid-19 situation eases in the city.”
Taking stock of the situation, the SDMC has launched a special drive to boost admissions in its schools. Mukesh Suryan, the chairperson of the south civic body’s education committee, issued an order on August 11, saying, “In the month of August 2020, it’s been decided that each and every teacher will conduct the admission drive in their area and admit at least 20 students to their schools. Accordingly, each and every principal will make sure to admit at least 200 new students with the cooperation of fellow teachers, staff/SMC, parents and local councillors.”
Suryan said the SDMC will focus on creating awareness among parents. “Parents are scared for the safety of their kids. Particularly, parents of three- and four-year-olds are thinking that there is no point admitting their children when the schools are shut.”
The north, east and south corporations run 765, 365 and 581 schools, respectively, and they cater to children up to class 5. The admission process in civic body schools this year was delayed by over three months due to the pandemic and began only on July 1.
A similar situation has been reported in schools of east and north MCDs. In a nursery school of east municipal corporation, only six admissions have taken place so far. “Last year, we had 70 admissions to nursery. This time it’s negligible. We majorly get students from the very low-income group. Now we have started calling parents of our former students and asking them to send children from their neighbourhood,” the principal of the school, who wished not to be named, said.
A principal of a north civic body school in Narela said five students have taken admission to the nursery as of now. “Last year, we had 29 students in the nursery. We have started distributing pamphlets to inform parents that admissions are open. We are also sending WhatsApp messages on our student groups as well.”
Ira Singhal, the spokesperson of the north civic body, said, “We are also conducting an admission drive engaging our teachers and school management committee (SMC) members to boost the number of admissions.”
EDMC mayor Nirmal Jain said, “We have started collecting data on admissions. We will also launch a drive if required.”
Educationist Meeta Sengupta said learning will slow down in early years if the parents do not enrol children in entry-level classes amid the pandemic. “We will have to find other ways to mitigate the loss when the situation comes back to normal. But this should not put pressure on schools to open early since the first job of a school is to provide a safe learning space.”