Do you know what’s tougher than gaining admission for a student in an Ivy League college? It’s getting a kindergarten admission for a child in a large and reputed school! Might sound quite funny, but it is true. Let’s hear it from parents themselves – those who had to sweat it out in their bid to enrol their children in kindergarten.
‘So near, yet so far’ – Deepika, Chennai: “I had made countless visits to so many top schools in the city for my son’s LKG admission. But, for reasons still unknown to me, all of them rejected the application. Those were days of utter desperation.
There was this famous CBSE school in our neighbourhood and we stood there in the queue right from 3:00 a.m. to get an application form. A few days after sending in the application, our son was asked to attend the interview. In my opinion, he did fairly well, by interacting quite effectively with the panel. We were so confident that our son will get a seat. But, unfortunately, he didn’t.
When we questioned the school administration about this, we didn’t get any satisfactory reply. The same happened in a few other schools too. After a certain point, dejected due to the rejections by well-known schools, we enrolled our son in a lesser-known Montessori school. I feel reputed schools have a set of unwritten rules for themselves, which most parents aren’t aware of. It would help if there is a uniform and transparent process for LKG admissions so that parents need not worry.”
‘I actually lost some weight’ – Ravi, Chennai: “We got applications from twelve schools for our son’s LKG admission. It was quite an ordeal indeed. One of the schools informed us that they had only forty seats, but were selling hundreds of applications. We were never sure if we would get a seat, but still, bought the application, hoping to get a seat. We realised later that you need someone known to you within the school to have a chance of your application even being considered. I also met close to hundred people for recommendations and favours. But nothing worked out. I spent months of sleepless nights. The intense stress and depression even made me lose up to 4 kilos! Why should parents go through all this? Why can’t we have a system where every child is assured of quality education by the government, from kindergarten to post-graduation? Countries like Singapore provide this. Why can’t India too grant us this privilege?”
‘A tough job indeed’ – Vedavalli, Srirangam: “From my experience, I would suggest that parents enrol their children into LKG in a reputed school. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to gain admission into higher classes in another school later. We were living in Bengaluru a few years back. Since we wanted our child to enjoy her kindergarten years without any academic pressure, we enrolled her in a Montessori play school. But, later, when we sought admission for her in a CBSE school for class one, we faced a problem. The school didn’t want to take in a student who had completed her kindergarten in another school. Therefore, our child was denied admission. In fact, most reputed schools follow this as an unwritten rule. They encourage admissions only at the kindergarten stage. We pleaded with the school management to allot our child a seat, in the event of any other student opting out. But, it was of no use. Finally, we had to settle for a not-so-well-known school.”
‘Rejection everywhere’ – Rekha Ravichandran: “My husband and I approached a reputed school for our daughter Riya’s LKG admission. We visited the school every day and sat as if in penance in front of the principal’s office. She would smile at us daily, and one fine day, we were called in for the interview. But, our application was rejected as they didn’t take in children below four years. Another school had a strict policy of admitting only siblings of existing students as a priority. This led to a huge competition for the remaining seats. But, finally, we faced rejection there too. We, later, admitted our child in a school which wasn’t even in our short-list. We had to settle for it, as we didn’t have any other option.”
Expert Take – Padma Srinath, Early Childhood Education Specialist: “In small Montessori schools, where the number of students is less, the teachers have the opportunity to spend more time with each child. These schools teach children the fundamentals of education, with an emphasis on practicality and logical thinking. But, in large schools there will be at least four or five sections in LKG alone, with each section having close to thirty students. How will the teacher have personal interaction with these children? Moreover, just imagine the plight of these little children when they enter the gates of these huge schools, crowded with thousands of students! It will scare most tiny tots and that’s the reason they cry at the very thought or sight of school. Do we really need to make them endure this? The reason for this trend is because parents feel gaining admission for their child in LKG in large and reputed schools solves the entire problem of schooling for their children. And, until schools change the way they approach and treat admissions, nothing is going to change.”