Delhi school admissions: Parents’ worst nightmares come true in maximum city

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New Delhi | Updated: January 9, 2017 6:18:31 PM

It's not only a stern test for the kid getting into nursery but also for the parents who have to prepare both the kid as well as themselves.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Education minister Manish Sisodia interacts with school children. (PTI)Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia interacts with school children. (PTI)

Getting admission into school in Delhi is no child’s play. It’s not only a stern test for the kid getting into nursery but also for the parents who have to prepare both the kid as well as themselves. This entire process is a test of skill, patience and luck. For one citizen of the city, days haven’t been easy. That person is Ragini Khanna (31), who had to jettison her strict rules of not using smartphones during dinner, as she has to react to buzzes, since there might be an update on her son’s admission status. She reveals that even a single mistake on her part may ruin her child’s future.

Most of the parents like Ragini spend a lot of time every morning checking websites of various schools to look at their admission criteria and the documents required during admission.

Concerned about her son’s admission, Ragini told The Indian Express, “All schools were supposed to display their guidelines but this did not happen. We later found out that a number of schools in my area, many of which we were keen on, fall under the list of schools that got land from the government and that admission guidelines for these would be declared later.”

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It was found that many schools didn’t allow parents inside their premises without their child. Though nowadays, application forms can be filled online, certain things like (copies of) birth certificates, address proof, proof of vaccination also value equally and needs verification.

Even after admission, problems do not go away. Ragini talks about the horror stories hovering around the parents’ minds. She said, “It is a rollercoaster ride. One day, we are sure we have found the school we want; the next day we hear of a better school or a parent’s negative experience in another. Sometimes we wonder if all this information overload is worth it.”

Ragini also talks about the privilege of living in Vasant Kunj area of Delhi, which comprises of many big and small schools within their residential vicinity. She believes news regarding schools from the neighbourhood also helps. It has also been heard that people hunt for residential areas near good schools and that too a year before their kid is eligible enough to go for nursery.

This is reflected in real estate trends. The relocating of address is a boon for Saket-based property-dealer Sumit Garg, as his business goes up around October. According to Garg, most of his clients are young parents with kids looking for accommodation on a temporary basis.

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Earlier in Delhi, parents and children were made to sit for interviews where the kids were generally asked to stack blocks based on colour or size. On the other hand, the parents were asked to sit for ‘exams’ in a room with invigilators.

This criterion changed in 2007, when Delhi government decided that admission will be based on non-discriminatory and fair criteria where no pressure will be given on children to take tests or face an interview. However, over the years, the distance between a child’s house and school has become a key criteria that decides who gets admission and the parents have also responded accordingly.

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