To Do or Not to Do is the question

Today’s headlines in The Times of India (TOI) is, ‘1.75 lakh kids couldn’t get nursery seats.’ I am talking about Delhi, the capital of Rising India and kids who are little over 3 years and few 4 years old, who could not get through any of the good schools last year. It is a harrowing experience for the parents.

Parents normally apply in at least 6-8 schools as part of ‘Risk Management’, yet most of them are unable to get their child admitted in a school of their choice. Each school has their own criterion for giving admission. Some giving preference to children whose parents are alumni members from the same school, others want a particular profile of the parents, mindset etc. While some schools give extra points to Single parent, others prefer children from harmonious families and they will have their own definition of what is a harmonious family. The problem is aggravated as most of the ‘elite’ schools are in South Delhi and all schools have a “neighborhood criteria” i.e. they want the child to reside within a radius of 5 – 8 kms from the school. Helpless parents have two options.

Option 1: to move to these Neighborhoods which perhaps enhances the probability of getting admission in a good school? By the way, property prices in South Delhi have sky rocketed in the recent past which many middle class or even upper middle class professionals may not be able to afford.  

Option 2: (which many resort to) if the couple have an ancestral property (child’s grandparents have a house/apartment in these localities), show that as the place of residence. It is a lie but it seems people do find ways of doing it.  

I have a question here. Should one base the first step of a child’s education on a lie? With what right can these parents tell their children ‘never say a lie!’

Or should one be truthful and stick to one’s principle and run the risk of jeopardizing the child’s education in today’s rat race and competition cut throat? In India, it is very important for a child to go to a school recognized as ‘very good.’

What will you do?

                                                                                           

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Just use the ancestral property if grand parents are iving there! Maybe the grandparents will baby sit after school if both mom and dad are working. So in effect thats where the kid will travel to after school. The whole rule is silly as the kid should first be admitted and then the parents should be expected to move, not before.

  2. Khushi

    Indrani, you have used the right word – harrowing. I would suggest, why not talk to the school of choice and mention that you plan to move there if he is admitted and stick to that word. Then it wont be a lie, and though it will be a huge hassle and locational sacrifice, at least the school, which is so important will be the one you want. You know, the rule should be changed to make admissions contingent on parents moving within 5 to 8 miles if at all. Because till the admission is done, how do they expect people to be close to all of the best schools.

  3. Tana

    Indrani, your moral dilemma is a great one. I know that till date I remember my father, in the late 70s, then a research scientist in the Nuclear Reactor Research Center in remote Kalpakkam, traversing to Madras by bus about 3-4 times to get his driver’s license because what they really wanted was a bribe, and he wouldn’t pay one. Eventually they got tired of seeing him repeatedly and gave him the license. I was only five years old, and have never forgotten that lesson by example. Yet, I also know of little children who grow up under the tremendous burden of their parents’ weighty principles (remember Gandhi’s son who could never understand why his father wouldn’t recommend him to London for higher education, and found him to be a loveless stickler for his principles…?) So I guess there is a balance.
    I’m guessing your child is too young to understand the lessons hidden in this dilemma, so do what is ultimately best for him in the long term. Khushi’s idea is really good – be transparent and honest with the school officials about your current living status and propose a negotation.
    And let me leave you with this last thought – in Kalpakkam my kindergarten was in a bunch of temporary, leaking, mud-and-thatch roof huts in a Kendriya Vidyalaya. Yet I turned out OK 🙂

  4. Yasmin Talgeri

    Indrani, Talk to your neighbors and see which schools they are sending their kids to, and if they are happy with their child’s progress. Sometimes even the less ‘popular’ schools are good.
    Initially the kid can start in a local/neighborhood school. And switch schools after 10th or earlier. If a child is bright, she/he will excel in any setting.
    But yes, being a parent…I know that I would want the best for my kid.

  5. Malini

    Indrani, the most important thing is providing your kid with the best possible option of good education not necessary a “very good school”. But I think somewhere we all nurture the idea of enrolling our kids to a popular school irrespective of the distance, fee structure….so go ahead do whatever you feel right for your kid. After all, the future of the child depends on your decision…One thing, I personally feel that a child should have a education balanced with the opportunty of enough extra curicular activities (sports, drawings, dancing…etc.) so that the child grows up to have a good career utilizing his education as well as can pursue his / her dreams

  6. Indrani

    Thanks so much for all your comments and suggestions. Though my son goes to school only next year, the experience of friends and neighbors around has set me thinking. As far as giving address proof is concerned, schools want parents/ child already residing at the prescribed neighborhood at the time of submitting the forms for admission. My neighbors around have either gone to great lengths to ensure that their children go to an elite schools and others have opted for the not so popular schools.

  7. Sophie

    Hi Indrani. Good luck for next year’s circus! I just underwent a traumatic experience in Bangalore for my 2.6 yr old’s admission into a playgroup. The montessori school is attached to a ‘renowned’ full fledged school. Therefore there is a huge scramble to get one’s child admitted into the montessori branch as after this entry point, all seats are full capacity. Its tougher to get a seat in the KG classes.
    So my barely 2 yr old toddler got “observed” in a room with toys. I was blabbering some nonsense (I was v.nervous!)and my shy li’l one did not utter a word. She is normally a quiet and observant kid in a new set-up. So she was her usual self. I however was a bundle of nerves. Needless to say, she did not make it to the ‘good school’ which is also near my house. I decided to go and meet the principal to know the ‘feedback’. I also wanted to have one final chance to share how ‘very keen’ I was as a parent on this school. So I armed myself with a book, took the day off from work, and sat ourside the office from 8:30 am till 12 pm. They had to grant me an audience then. 4 days later they called saying a seat had fallen vacant as some kid had pulled out. So finally my toddler will start playschool this june when she is 2.5 yrs old.
    All the best Indrani. Keep a positive frame of mind!

  8. Anonymous

    It doesnt really matter if he goes to the best school. He goes to school thats good enough. Dont look for the best and just go with one of the better ones. If you got to lie for that…do just that.

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