Face of Education System in Delhi

I just wrapped up the admissions for my daughter who still has to turn 3 for the pre-nursery class. The process was not a smooth one but by Grace of God, I was lucky to find a seat for my daughter. In retrospect, when I think of all that had happened in last 35 days and also when I read the plight of the parents who were unable to secure a seat for their beloved ones in the first list, I have following to share.

 

The problem

  1. Schools are not distributed appropriately in Delhi. To top this up, only a few schools enjoy a great reputation that has been built up by Media for publicity reasons.
  2. The population of children who seek admission are all over the city and some find themselves in areas that do not come close to any school. While those who live close by do not have live close to those so-thought of reputed schools
  3. The education ministry is not thinking of solving the problem in any way. They are trying out options that seem to have no thinking behind the process. It almost seems that planning is missing completely from the process

 

Symptoms

Every problem has certain symptoms. This entire process is so flawed that I can write the symptoms of the issues like an Epic. But I am going to list only a few.  No aanalysis has been done to find out, how the schools are spread out across the city and find ways to increase the penetration in those areas which do not have coverage by schools. Yet, there has been emphasis on neighborhood and choice of people to place their children in schools close to their homes.

There is no way to govern the admission process. Schools on the first instance throw the RTE out of the window. Many schools do not even release the points that all the students scored and are not willing to answer any queries of any of the parents.

The process is manual. When we find universities taking a step to common admission form way back in 1990s, the school admissions still is a process that needs parents to go from school to school. It is unclear why can not they learn from the university admissions and incorporate some of the good things from there.

In a country where we have been preaching about equality, the process where we start the education of the people of the nation is jarred with discrimination and that too so many – boy/girl child; single parents; siblings; alumni. The message we are sending to the future citizens of the nation is that you need to have privileges of some kind.

The privilege part which is based on the point systems, also introduces a feeling of guilt within the parents. Some of the great aspects of the Indian culture suddenly look like evils – happily married is not preferred; boy child is on an dis-advantage and a few more.

The process is completely skewed by the fact that shelling out some additional money will give you certificates of facts that do not exist and schools do not have the workforce to validate them.

 

Outcome

It will be simple – some will secure a seat and others will not. Those who will secure a seat will do so by either some luck or if they have some resources that others cant afford. But, the main point to note is that the process, the point system that was put in place is a total loss. If admissions are to happen on luck, lets not complicate the process. Lets simple have a draw of lottery. And now it hits me – Mr. Lovely had suggested that but it was opposed by everyone. Now I am thinking, maybe that is how it should have been – luck is what gave admissions to children even with the point system.

Is there a solution – well I do not have one right now. I do not have the resources of the information to do so. But, I hope that DoE wakes up and does something about it. I am sad to see how we start the education of the children of this nation.

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Nursery School Admissions 2011 – I survived a nightmare

Well, a few years back I did not think about this at all; never cared about it. When people used to tell me this is a big deal I never cared to ask why. But, last year when I started to do the research I started to understand that this is something that is going to be difficult than my school examinations. However, what this was going to be like I had no clue.

January 1, 2011 is when the ordeal started for Preeti (my wife) and me. The first two weeks it was all about understanding the different criterion that the school had set. My gosh!! every school had a different criteria. If there were two schools next to each other, in one school the points we were getting were around 60 and the other we had just 10 points. Well to brief it all, some of the common guidelines were:

  • Points for Neighborhood: The closer you are to the school, the higher points you score
  • Points for Sibling: If you had an elder sibling in the school you were preferred and you would get a higher score
  • Points for Alumni: If your parents passed out from that school you get higher points
  • Points for Girl Child: Boys were foresaken for some reason that is beyond my understanding
  • Points for Single parent: Somehow it felt that being happily married was a curse

By Jan 3rd, we had realized that our house was in a location which did not any good schools close by. One of the best locations to live in Delhi suddenly became the worst for us. Nevertheless, we went ahead and selected 15 schools and applied for admission for our beloved daughter. While she enjoyed her time, Preeti and I were going through a nightmare.

Jan 15th came and last date of filling forms was done. Now it was time for schools to pour out the results. Some of the best schools announced that all parents who did not have an elder child already in the school or were not an alumni should not even bother looking at the result. Well, those schools were not that good in the past. And, even if they were, should we hold our parents responsible for not putting us in those schools – our hearts were feeling the pain and my parents were sharing the same with us.

On Feb 1st all the schools were to display the results; this was the D-day. Jan 31st, I was unable to sleep the whole night. I remember I was not this worried during my class 10/12 exams and even graduation. Finally on Feb 1st, my daughter was lucky enough to have her name listed in one of the schools with a confirmed seat and in another school under wait list. I had to sit down on the bed when I answered my mobile from the school as they told me that my daughter has been selected and I have to come and deposit the fee.

Now, I read that many parents are left hanging with no schools for their kids. They have no options to wait for the 2nd, 3rd list or find ways to pay some money to the schools. When I think of them, I have a guilty feeling that some kids wont be able to school while my daughter will go. even when this is how it is supposed to be and I had no hand in any of the process all along; but being a spectator.

I do not understand what the government if going to do about this, but this is so wrong. On one side, we talk about providing education to everyone, while on the other hand the process is such that many are left hanging with no where to go. Not right; just not right.