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A parent writes about her experience with the saga that is Delhi Nursery Admissions and how she is maneuvering through this path filled with roadblocks!
As the world and especially India watch out for Mr Trump’s daily update on Immigration and VISA rules, my world seems to revolve around checking various dailies and school websites for updates on what’s the latest happening in the race for the coveted seat, i.e. a nursery seat in one of Delhi schools for kicking off the journey of my little one in the world of formal education. And as I do this, my little one who is playing with his superheroes looks at me blankly as if saying “Mom why to worry, I am happy with my playschool and even no school!” So oblivious!
But worry is something which comes in the part of every parent along with the child’s third birthday celebrations. And yes every privileged parent staying in the capital toils hard when it comes to securing a nursery seat in one of the good schools in the Indian capital.
If you are a parent who celebrated her child’s third birthday in past nine-ten months — you would be empathizing with me on each word. If you are a parent whose child stepped in the formal education system in the Indian capital in past few years, then I may have refreshed some of your bittersweet experiences encountered during the process of securing this seat. Stay with me and read till the end — you will be happy to know that things haven’t changed.
Truly nothing baffles you more in Delhi — choosing a good gynecologist who gets the baby out in this world, the hospital, the pre-school but surely the fight at Year 3 — aka nursery admission just puts to test all your skills on networking, field work, operations and a special mention to the patience levels! The biggest and the foremost decision of your child’s life seems like a surprise game for which how so much you prepare, you get a googly because the rules are going to change at the last moment, thanks — not to a single person — but a whole army of people who just rise and try to outshine each other just as the process is about to kick-start.
Recently on one of my Ola rides in the city, as I exchanged notes with another mother sailing in the same boat over a telephonic call– the cab driver overhears our conversation and just can’t resist himself to jump in to add his two cents. He reveals that he is also a parent of a 3-year-old vying for a nursery seat.
“Mam, are you a nursery applicant this year?” I don’t want to encourage this conversation but somehow since I have been thinking about it day and night, I nod my head in affirmation. “Mam, I am also one — applying in EWS (Economically weaker section) category , have you also applied from the same category?”
Well, he senses my denial and goes on, “Mam fake certificate can be made, nursery admission is important…there are many pitfalls”. I am shocked! But I settle myself as I digest another bitter truth, feeling so very helpless. There have been many methods, including the fat money figures in the air, which could help one procure the seat under the notoriously infamous quota system.
They say, some things are destined not to change and Delhi nursery admissions seem to come under that prerogative. Every single year — sometimes on management quota, sometime on criteria for point allocation, some year on EWS reservation and this year on distance criteria. Trust me you can’t even imagine in your wildest dreams what the contention would be next year, making this an examination tougher than any of the competitive exams that you may have appeared for!
And if you thought that your passing out from a prestigious university or being an A in your school/college/corporate would add any gravitas, forget it! Irony is, the rules of the game just don’t give you an opportunity to use your charisma or your oratorical skills to impress anyone. And even if one or two schools out there let you, the process is arbitrary enough to leave you wondering what the hell your hard work paid you if that can’t add enough points to your child’s score.
Wait, I realize that I am getting late for a lottery, aka draw of lots, this time roughly among two thousand parents in queue for forty odd seats. Phew, doesn’t that sound like vying for a seat in some top engineering and management college in India or for a US VISA with a limited pool?
This is my third one and with one more to go, I am hopeful till the last one concludes. The ordeal continues, thanks to the saga of Delhi nursery school admissions which promises to be full of enough surprises and excitement to let you not forget it ever!
Wishing everyone sailing with me the very best.
— A Delhi parent participating in the nursery admission process
Published here earlier.
Image Source: Unsplash