With limited number of seats and different sets of rules, the season of nursery admissions in the city is a major cause for concern for parents of wards seeking admission. The announcement of admission schedules has already set them making endless rounds of schools.
However, the admission criterion of each school varies. While some schools are giving preference to children having siblings in the same school, others are giving preference to children on the basis of teaching staff and management quotas.
Several private unaided schools in the Tricity have a system wherein preference is given to a student who has siblings in the same school or are wards of the teaching staff at the school. Higher points are allocated to students fulfilling these criteria instead of giving preference to students who live in the school’s vicinity. At few schools like Vivek High School, Sector 38, and St Kabir Public School, Sector 8, preference will also be given to offsprings of the alumni of the school.
Ravinder Brar, parent of a ward seeking admission to Strawberry Fields High School, says, “The majority of schools have this criterion of allocating higher points to students who have a sibling in the same school, which is unfair. I am seeking admission for my daughter, and she is my only child. So she does not have the advantage of being preferred for admission. Even though schools provide admissions through draw of lots, the names they put in the lots depend on such a criterion.”
At the top four missionary schools in the city, i.e. St Anne’s Convent School, St John’s High School, Carmel Convent School and Sacred Heart Public School, preference is given to Christian families in addition to preference to children through the management/sibling/staff quotas.
“I have given up hope about my son getting admission to any of the missionary schools because he does not fulfil any of the criteria. With such stringent admission criteria, getting admission through the general category becomes tough. The Education Department must intervene,” says Radhika Mehta, a parent.
“The problem is, even though we know our child is bright and worthy of an admission, we are helpless because we have to abide by these set criteria, which might not necessarily work in our favour,” says Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Mohali.
The instructions issued by the UT Education Department to schools are being flouted. Despite instructions stating that admission forms must be given free of cost, almost all schools in the Tricity are charging amounts varying from Rs 50 to Rs 500 for the admission forms/prospectuses. A circular sent by the UT Education Department states that schools are allowed to charge for their prospectus only at the time of submission of admission forms — a rule which is being flouted by several school authorities.
In addition to this, some are not even following the common admission schedule which has been issued by the UT Education Department. For instance, against the dates specified for admissions at schools, New Public School, Sector 18-B, Chandigarh, has not yet started its admission process. Schools have also been instructed not to coerce parents into buying school uniforms/textbooks from a specific shop only.
However, H S Mamik, head of Vivek High School, says, “By constantly issuing such guidelines, the UT Education Department is trying to interfere in the matters of private schools. We all have a system in place, a system that has been working for years now. The department needs to worry itself with more pressing concerns, like improving facilities at government schools.”