Summer is the time when most families plan for vacations or mini road trips. For some parents though, this is the time to plan for the next academic year and a new school. This means shortlisting the top schools, evaluating their teaching methods and success rates, and applying for admission. After that, the child will need to go through the rigours of the admission process in the schools selected. Now, if you had shortlisted a top CBSE school and applied for admission there, but were unable to secure it for your child, what would you do? First of all, here are a few things you should not do.
What not to do
Don't panic: Try to remember this is not the end of the road for you or your child. What matters the most is that he gets quality education and enjoys the process of learning. This is possible even if he doesn't go to a top-rated CBSE school.
Don't blame your child: By blaming your child for not getting into the school of your choice, you will hurt her self-esteem and confidence, and make her disassociate from the process of learning. Not all geniuses come from great schools; neither do all great schools produce remarkable students.
Don't treat it as a failure: As mentioned above, not getting into a top CBSE school is not the end of the world. And it certainly must not be treated as something your child 'failed' to do. Accept this small setback and encourage him to move on and prepare himself for the next round of selections.
Don't refuse to consider other options: It's essential for you and your child that you always have a plan B in place. She can become an achiever with both your support and the school's even if she does not go to the most popular school in the city.
Instead, this is what you should do:
First step: Calm yourself down as a parent and make sure your child understands that there are other choices he can go for.
Second step: Make a new list of good schools and apply for them.
Third step: Prepare your child for the school interviews and the entrance test for admission by giving her mock oral and written tests.
Now that you have decided to move on, here are some points you should keep in mind while choosing a CBSE school.
7 factors to help you decide on a CBSE school
School credentials: When you seek CBSE admission, be sure to check the ratings and the credentials of the school. You can do so by checking up on online parent reviews, the average student score in Class 10 and 12 examinations, the school's affiliations and whether it is recognised by the Central and the State Governments. "The academic reputation of the school, including the Board results and overall scores of each class, is an important factor to keep in mind before deciding on a good CBSE school," says Dr Paramita Mukherjee Mullick. * Also, ensure that the CBSE syllabus is being taught.
Teaching methodology: A school's educational philosophy and it's teaching methods will have a great impact on your child's approach to learning. Prepare a list of your concerns and questions and talk to the admission coordinator extensively before deciding on the school. Make sure that all your concerns are addressed satisfactorily. "Innovative teaching methods, which help the student to grasp and assimilate the lessons quickly are crucial to enable a child's learning process," says Dr Paramita.
Financial cost: Education today is expensive, and all parents prepare accordingly to ensure the best for their child. However, you must remember that an expensive school does not necessarily mean it's a good school. Many government institutes provide quality education and are not heavy on the pocket. It's essential not to overreach regarding your child's education as you need to factor in other expenses like medical and housing for the family too. "The quality of education given, the amenities provided, and time devoted to other co-scholastic activities should justify the money spent on them," explains Dr Paramita.
Parent references: The best way to check whether your school is a good CBSE schoolor not is through parental reviews. If you can get in touch with parents, who have their children studying in the school you are applying for, you can always ask them for their opinions. This will give you an insider's perspective on the faculty and the school's teaching methods, and help you get a better understanding of how the school works. But make sure you talk to many parents as some may have a personal bias and it could affect their opinion of the school.
Student-teacher ratio: According to the Right to Education Act, 2009, a pupil teacher ratio of 30:1 is recommended for primary schools and 35:1 for upper primary schools. While quite a few schools are adhering to this ratio, many still try to fit in more students in one class. The right student-teacher ratio is important to ensure that your child gets the proper attention he needs in class.
School infrastructure: A good CBSE school should offer its students facilities to develop their extra-curricular interests. It should have the infrastructure to support and develop a child's interest in sports, drama or fine arts. "A good infrastructure, which ensures a good learning environment, with classrooms having optimum illumination and ventilation, is vital. The school management should also provide a hygienic environment and maintain the school grounds. Measures to keep students safe, not only in the school premises but also in school buses, must be a high priority for the school," emphasises Dr Paramita.
Extracurricular activities: Extracurricular activities play a significant role in the development of your child. The best CBSE schools in India give a lot of emphasis on activities outside academics to help in the overall development of a student. So, make sure your school also factors in time for extracurricular activities in your child's daily school schedule. "The management and the head of the school should always care about all aspects of a student's development," says Dr Paramita.
Other parameters to consider
"Other parameters that parents should keep in mind while choosing a good CBSE school are whether the school has good science laboratories and a well-stocked library. Also, if the school houses a language lab especially for the assessment of speaking and listening activities. Parents should also check whether the school has well qualified and experienced teachers. Last but not the least, they should know whether the school lays importance on the learning of ethical values, because, as a society we not only need good students but caring and responsible individuals," says Dr Paramita.
If you, as a parent, are heartbroken about missing out on the admission to the school of your choice, imagine the impact it has on your child? Be a role model for him and teach him that while there are setbacks in life, it's crucial to move on and make the best of what you have.
*Dr Paramita Mukherjee Mullick, is an author and principal assessor and trainer at NABET (National Accreditation Board of Education and Training).
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