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Good, but what to do?

THE DELHI High Court?s no to pre-admission interviews of children and parents at the nursery level has triggered a debate among city schools regarding the viable options and alternatives. A section of principals welcomed the order. But, there are many who hold a different opinion. Principals like Kaushalya Popli of Athena Nursery School says: ?I myself was never in favour of interviews. There are several other options that schools could work on like developing an eye for better understanding of child?s attitude.?

india Updated: May 12, 2006 00:02 IST

THE DELHI High Court’s no to pre-admission interviews of children and parents at the nursery level has triggered a debate among city schools regarding the viable options and alternatives.

A section of principals welcomed the order. But, there are many who hold a different opinion.

Principals like Kaushalya Popli of Athena Nursery School says:

“I myself was never in favour of interviews. There are several other options that schools could work on like developing an eye for better understanding of child’s attitude.”

She adds, “In my five decades of career I never interviewed tiny tots or their parents. I’ve been strongly advocating for scanning the general attitude of the child. Talk to the child by asking him who bought him the T-shirt, which he is wearing, what he does at home and such simple queries. Just observe his approach. That’s it.”

Admission on first come first served basis is also gaining support. Says Dr Preeti Singh of Red Hill School: “We always felt that interviewing the child or the parents is not a good practice. At Red Hill, we believe that a small kid cannot be expected to perform well in a short span of time. If the child fails to qualify, it becomes upsetting both for the parents and the child. So admission is done on first come first served basis.”

But, the schools having pressure for admissions hold a different view. Asks principal of St Francis College Fr Vincent Pinto: “How am I going to admit kids without an interview? At our school we get huge number of application forms for 180 seats in nursery. How do you screen them without an interview?”

The schools may now have to think of innovative methods, like admitting kids through the lottery system or on a ‘first come first served’ basis. “Without some basic guidelines, parents would harass the school administration on why their children were denied admission. Interview helped in screening candidates. Now, what do we do? Go in for draw of lots or admit kids on first come first served basis?” he asked.

Father Pinto is not alone in reacting this way. Says vice principal of La Martiniere Boys’ College Trever Savaille: “Some kind of assessment—if not formal interview—of the kid is an option. Otherwise, there is no way we can get to know the child. How much the child knows, his grasping power and his understanding of things at that age are all that need to be monitored before he is admitted.””

“The court has left the debatable issue to be sorted out by the schools. I believe that principals would sit down sometime later and try to sort out this complex issue before the admission work begins next year,” says Savaille.

Peter Fanthome, principal St Teresa’s Day School and College was of the opinion that it needs to be seen as what prompted the Delhi High Court to pass such an order. “Maybe some schools at Delhi must have overdone it following which the court thought of passing some ruling. But, then there is no denying that school must get to see the child first before giving admission,” he said.

According to Fanthome, an informal interface with the parents and the child to be admitted is a must. Otherwise, how can schools decide on child’s eligibility to admission. He says: “We need to know the child’s background to assess his bent of mind.”

First Published: May 12, 2006 00:02 IST