June 5, 1997
Parents queue up at the Manilal Sunderji Municipal School at Vile Parle to get admission forms for their children.
MUMBAI, June 4: These are the sort of alarming queues one sees at railway counters before the summer holidays. Except that in this case, they are made up of anxious parents. Desperate to get their children admitted to good primary schools, they have lined up at the 13 municipal counters since Monday evening itself to secure admission forms that were to be available from next morning.
Express Newsline visited one centre, Manilal Sundarji Municipal School in Vile Parle (West), today and witnessed a sorry picture.
Most of the parents, along with other relatives, had skipped dinner and sleep to wait for the iron gates of the school to open at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. “I’ve been standing here for over six hours. I am seeking the admissions of my two daughters in Std I and III. Unfortunately, the queue does not seem to move fast,” said Irfan Dilawar Hussain. He had chosen three English-medium schools in the Andheri-Vile Parle area for his daughters.
Another parent, Malika Begum, complained: “Though the police is maintaining law and order, the municipal officials are just not processing the forms quickly, making us wait for hours at a stretch.”
Some of the parents also charged that though the admission forms cost Rs 2 each, a few touts in the area were charging as much as Rs 150 for getting the forms out-of-turn. However, officials of the BMC education department denied this.
A senior official at the main admission office, S S Bengali Municipal School at Charni Road, reasoned: “The long queues will continue as our department is not computerised. Parents are also very eager to get the forms in the first few days, thus the tremendous rush.”
The official, who did not wish to be named, added that the 13 admission counters will be open till June 26. So far, 1,500 forms have been handed out for admissions in over 950 primary schools in the city.
When contacted at Mantralaya, the deputy secretary of primary school education, V R Joshi, said: “We have very little control over the BMC education department as they only take 35 per cent (Rs 40 crore) of the grants given by the state for education. However, it is unfortunate that the parents have to go through such trouble for admissions.”
Meanwhile, the waiting continues. As one harried parent put it: “We know that for every 100 applications, there are barely five seats in a school but we are still hopeful — Ummeed par hi duniya kayam hai!.”
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