For getting their wards admitted to nursery section, one can see parents making numerous calls to different schools, waiting for the admission form date, standing in the queue to deposit the form and facing the interview. The list doesn't end here. The anxious wait for the result is the most difficult step, followed by making arrangements for the exorbitant fee, if you are lucky to get through some school.
But introduction of Common Admission Process (CAP) will end all these travails of parents, feel city-based education experts. "The amount charged for the admission form ranges from Rs 500 to Rs 2,500, depending upon the school. Parents end up spending Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 for buying admission forms as they don't want to take take any chance and most of them apply in at least three to four schools. Most schools interview the parents and the child which is ridiculous," says Jayant Jain, president, Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE).
Jain suggested that there should be one common online admission form for everyone and a software can help suggest schools to opt for on the basis of their geographical location as per their pin code. "Just the way it happens in colleges, parents can specify their preference for few schools in their area."
In 2011, FFE had filed a petition in High Court regarding the need for introduction of rules mandatory to bring about regularity in the admission process in private schools. The petition also included list of 40 questions that the parents are asked to answer in a form. For instance, the car they own, if they have an Internet connection, number of rooms in their flat or bungalow, details of income tax return, monthly income, designation and so on.
"Most of these questions to parents are regarding their financial positions. Basically, the school wants to gauge whether the parents will be able to afford the fee at present as well as in future when it is increased," he adds. Besides, he is also against the written test for parents, which goes against the parents who are not educated. Unfortunately, the petition filed by FEE is yet to get a hearing date.
"Instead of 'rules', the government should make 'acts' and monitor its implementation rigorously," says city-based senior educationist Ramesh Panse, who was one of the members of the Prof Ram Joshi Committee that had drafted the Maharashtra Pre-School Centres (Regulation of Admission) Act, 1996. "The government considered it but did not introduce any act. In 1997-98, it was withdrawn. There is no autonomous body for early childhood education and even the government does not have any authority over the same," he adds.
Citing Section 13 and 16 of the RTE Act, Ikhlas Sayyad, secretary of Superb Welfare and Education Society, says, "It says that the admission for Class I should be done by lottery system. If we apply the same for nursery admission too, parents will not have to face all this hassle."