Securing a seat in nursery class in a private school is akin to waging a war for most parents in Delhi.
Applying to several schools, both online and offline; getting documents ready to meet several criteria; personally visiting each school to check finer details and getting feedback on the facilities offered; making a priority list of schools, if their child gets through multiple schools; keeping a plan B ready, in case a child doesn’t get a seat; exchanging notes with other parents; keeping a tab on ever changing rules and so on. And these are just procedural matters.
Parents make many more sacrifices.
Some shift from one locality to another so that their place of residence is close to the school of their choice while others cancel their plans move to better localities to maintain higher rank on the neighbourhood criteria. Some parents even move to Delhi from other cities to find better educational opportunities for their children.
Some people even drop a year to wait for a seat in a preferred school. Some admit their child to a school and withdraw admission the next year so that they could transfer their ward to a better school.
Some parents shared their experiences with HT as to what it takes to get a nursery seat in Delhi:
In January 2016, Shalu and Vijay Singh Gautam applied to over 30 schools for a seat for their son, Nabhit, who was turning three next month.
“But despite meeting the criteria and having 80+ points in some schools, our son could not get admission. Most schools held draw of lots and our son’s name was shortlisted in only two places,” said Shalu.
Shalu said one of the schools had a very high fee and the other had a bad student-teacher ratio. They admitted Nabhit to Mother’s Pride. “We will apply this year again for KG class in a school where he can study till Class 12,” Shalu said.
The Gautams alleged that many schools asked for donations and others never answered their concerns on why their son could not get a seat.
Tip: Apply to as many schools as possible .
Chandigarh residents Anshul Saxena and his wife Nishant moved to Delhi in 2014 to get their daughter, Aadhya, admitted to a school with special educators. But, the only school Aadhya got a seat did not have special teachers.
“We applied through the centralized system for children with special needs (disadvantaged groups).Through a lucky draw she was shortlisted for one school. But she is autistic and needs special care which the school didn’t have,” Anshul said.
Aadhya is five and a half years old and is being home schooled. Her mother teaches her counting through pictorial representations and reading through flashcards.
“We will apply this year again because she needs to go to a regular school, interact with children of her age, and learn to be independent. But we fear that lack of special attention might harm her. One year is already wasted and we are unsure if there is an upper age limit,” she said.
Tip: The minimum age for application is three years but there is no upper age limit.
Four-year-old Harith Handuja goes to a neighbourhood school after he could not get a seat last year in the schools preferred by his parents. His mother, Dimple, is getting ready to apply again this year.
“There are not many schools within six kilometres range of our residence. We couldn’t get points for distance. We also don’t have any points for alumni or sibling,” said Dimple, a resident of Malka Ganj in north Delhi.
Handuja will be applying for more number of schools this year to ensure her son gets into a regular school. “We need to move him to a good school where he can study till Class 12. We will apply for both nursery and KG,” she said.
Tip: Apply to as many schools as possible .
Chetan Raj Singh wants his younger daughter to go to a ‘better’ school than the one where his elder daughter studies. He had applied to seven schools last year but her younger daughter was shortlisted in just one of them. Even there, she couldn’t get through the draw of lots. “We will apply this year again. My daughter lacked two crucial criterion — alumni and sibling,” Singh said.
“My elder daughter’s school is not good and I want the younger one to go to a better one,” he said.
Singh’s advice to parents this year is to apply to as many schools as possible, even if some of them are not situated near their place of residence.
“I think distance should be the main criterion because many of us do not have alumni and sibling points. What about first generation learners,” he asks.
Many teachers and experts whom HT talked to repeated Singh’s advice. They said that if it’s a lottery then one must buy as many tickets as you can.
Tip: Distance will be the sole criteria for 285 schools built on DDA land. Find out which one is closer, and apply.