If you are a resident of Delhi and also a parent of a school going kid, then you know it all.
You have been to the closed, 'restricted entry' gates of the big public schools. If you have been lucky, then you have been to the reception of such schools, looking around wide-eyed at the ambience of the school, the vastness of the building, the staff, the teachers, the students, the other desperate parents, the other children who have come for admissions. You have been for the 'interactions' with the school authorities, guiding your kid to spit out good morning and good afternoons, to be at their best behaviors, not to spoil their clothes, keep their hands clean and what not.
Admission to a "good" school in Delhi is a big thing. It is scary too at some level. It is like standing in a queue outside a ration shop, waiting impatiently for your turn and having the fear of being denied the opportunity despite being fully capable and deserving.
Recently, we went for admission to different schools for our child for the primary class. I was very confused how should I decide about which school to apply and which school to choose. Being an educationist myself, I wanted three parameters to meet:
1) it should be near our residence.
2) it should be co-educational.
3) the curriculum and teaching styles/pedagogy.
The first two parameters were easy to meet and the applications were sent on the basis of these two parameters.
We were called for interactions in most of the schools we applied for. I was confused and am still confused why they wanted an interaction? What for? To understand whether the child is 'fit' to be in their esteemed school or not? or whether the parents are presentable or not? I could not figure out why?
I still could not judge why they chose my child and why they rejected the child who was sitting next at the reception of the school. Such criteria were not shared with the parents which I strongly feel should have been.
Any ways, my child got selected in three schools of almost equal repute.
Now, the educationist in me demanded what curriculum they are following, what are the teacher-student ratio in the class, what are the teaching methodologies the school is following etc.
Can we as parents ask the school about theses things? Yes, I did.
Will we get an answer? No, I didn't. At least not upto my expectations.
I was told that the school follows the best practices and keeps in mind the academic welfare of the child in the best manner. I asked to observe a class to be able to know this. I was flatly refused on disciplinary issues. I was made to feel by the stares and glares of the office staff that I should be thankful that my child got through this school.
It was difficult for me to know which school I should opt for keeping in mind the three parameters I started with.
We decided to take opinion of friends, teachers, associates...
Believe me, it confused us all the more. Everyone had a different opinion of a "good" school. Many times, so different from my own opinion.
We ended up choosing a school that got the most votes.
The educationist in me is still sulking and desperate to know whether I decide the school or the School decides me!!
What do you say?