Nursery admission woes: It's complicated, silly!
Armed with roses, in Gandhigiri style, some 200 of these struggling parents protested outside the Directorate of Education office to tell the authorities how their point system is completely flawed and discriminatory.
They submitted the roses, meant to symbolise peaceful protests, and a memorandum to the DoE Director.
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Photographs: Parth Sanyal/Reuters
'Do not separate my twins'
Rashi Khetarpaul, a resident of Vasant Kunj is a mother of twins -- Krishi and Reeti. Ever since they were born, they have been inseparable, she says. And now because of the point system, she may just have to contend with admitting them in separate schools.
"I had applied at GD Goenka School in Vasant Kunj for the twins. According to the point system, girl children get extra five points. As a result what has happened is that my daughter got admitted and my son did not. My first priority at the moment is to get my son admitted to some other school, but the very thought of separating them is killing me," says Rashi.
Rashi holds a placard, which says 'Do not separate twins' and plans to give a rose to the DoE Director P Krishnamurti.
When asked if her son feels a left out, she flashes a sad smile and says, "He has asked me jokingly many times if he was a less intelligent than his sister. I don't understand. Both my children are from the same house, have the same parents and are of the same age. One gets admitted and the other does not. This is pure discrimination."
Image: Rashi Khetarpaul
'There are too many discrepancies'
Sumit Vohra, founder of an online forum for parents seeking nursery admission for their children, V R ONE, which organised the protest, says: "We want strict action against complaints filed with DoE against schools for not following the government guidelines."
"There are too many discrepancies. Modern School in Humayunpur and Vasant Vihar did not disclose any point system for nursery admissions. Laxman Public School and many others conducted a draw of lots in the absence of parents. Summerfields, KR Mangalam and many other schools are giving admissions on a first come first serve basis. Tagore International School has mentioned on its website that fee once paid will not be refunded, which is totally against the government guidelines."
There are contradictory problems in the point system, say parents. While some parents found problems because their child was a first born, others had troubles because it was their second born child.
Image: Sumit Vohra
'I don't have a transferable job, which cost me 30 points'
Advocate Vikas Jain applied to 21 schools for his first-born child Ishan Jain in and around Shivaji stadium area, but found no place in any of the schools he applied to.
"I am not an alumni of any of these schools, so in itself I lost on many points. I don't have a transferable job, which cost me 30 points. On top of that, the schools I applied to gave an five extra points to students with siblings," Vikas Jain, who holds a placard reading 'Stop Khandani admission system', says.
Image: Advocate Vikas Jain
'How does a transfer affect a child's prospects at the start of schooling?'
Rajiv Kakria, a resident of Greater Kailash-I, on the other hand, faced the opposite problem.
"I applied to Summer Fields School. The point system they have adopted is too loosely framed and gives undue weightage to some categories. Their system gives 30 points to the first child and 10 to a second child. So when you think of it, my child started off with minus 20 points. The other problem I faced was the awarding of 30 points to parents with transferable government jobs. This is highly unfair. How does a transfer affect a child's prospects at the start of schooling," Kakriya asks.
Image: Rajiv Kakria
'I have not been going to work for about a month now, trying to secure admission for my daughter'
Shelly Verma, a resident of Vasant Kunj, says she specially moved to Vasant Kunj and bought a house in the locality to score on the neighbourhood points.
"Since we were blessed with a girl child, we were hoping that the combined points on neighbourhood and girl child will see us through. We have applied to 16 schools in the area, but are still to hear anything from them. The schools are giving admissions to siblings or alumni. I have not been going to work for about a month now, trying to secure admission for my daughter, Ahana. I don't know what to do," Shelly says.
Image: Shelly Verma
Technical glitch and a ridiculous explanation
Rahul Arora, a resident of Vijay Nagar, faced the most peculiar problem.
His daughter, Ruhani, made the first list at Delhi Public School, only to be told later that her name came up because of a technical glitch.
"The explanation is ridiculous as I had applied online. The school had asked us to bring Ruhani to school with relevant documents. I was very happy that my daughter had made it, but when I took her to the school on February 2, they told me that my daughter's name did not feature in the list. When I showed them the online list, they told me it was a technical glitch and asked me to leave," Arora says.
Image: Rahul Arora
Options that the 100-points system gives
This year schools followed the 100-points system for nursery admissions, which allotted points on several categories like neighbourhood, sibling, alumni etc.
Even after achieving these points, many parents have not secured admissions for their children.
They are left with just two options -- to relocate to an entirely new city or letting their children continue in playschool for one more year.
Continuing in the playschool can be problematic, as by next year their age would be 4 and most schools prefer nursery admissions for 3-year-olds.