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An Ordeal called School Admission

Providing education is considered as a noble service.
It is also one of the lucrative businesses in many parts of the world.
Many work with sincerity and devotion to impart education of high quality.
 A few work for the sole objective of earning income.
Read some thoughts on the subject below.

As another school year begins, it is time for thousands of parents in all Indian cities to frantically knock at the doors of mighty school heads. Though admission process starts almost six months earlier, March witnesses the zenith of seat seekers in various private schools. Many fortunate parents might have obtained the application forms months earlier after standing in long queues for hours. Others try their luck on several subsequent dates with the staff in charge of the admission for obtaining the application form. Those parents who come out triumphantly after submitting the forms wait for the day of the entrance examination. Meanwhile, you may have several doubts and needed clarifications on the fee, syllabus, deadlines, language electives etc. Rarely you get somebody to clarify your queries.

Tried to get an appointment with the school heads? If you get one, you are the luckiest. You thought your high sounding letters in the visiting card would gain you smooth entry. You are wrong. The principals are always busy. You might get a blurred image of him reading news papers or chatting with ‘confident’ employees through the tinted glass doors. He may also go past the reception in supersonic speed several times during the day. He would not see parents waiting for hours outside. He knows it better as he learnt the lessons hard way. Lack of access increases demand and the supply can be priced high.

You may meet your district collector , police chief or your tax commissioner without much difficulty. But think twice before seeking an appointment for a quick word with your neighbourhood school head. Do not get misled by the charity objectives or the logo proclaiming equality, honesty and empathy of the school. These are applicable only to the students and not for the management. These are the only places were it can be rightly said that right of admission is reserved. None of the other establishments, irrespective of the distinction of public sector or private sector, which provide services (viz. hospitals, banks, public utility providers etc) behave in such non-transparent manner.

Conditional admissions are granted in these schools stating ‘anticipated’ vacancies in order to build further pressure. You may also be warned that your ward may not get requested language stream. You would also be told that your ward has done badly in the entrance exam. All these would add up for determining the advance price you have to pay for the seat. And you will be given less than twenty four hours to pay the ‘admission fee’ which may be several times your monthly income. Pay it or leave the seat. This stage of admission process is extremely simple and quick. You try to tell them that you belong to the same community as of the management. You try to yell out that you belong to a minority community. You cry before them that you are in a transferable job and cannot afford to pay such huge admission fee year after year in different places. Nothing works. Angrily you come out of the premises to find an alternative place. Then you think about your daughter who is at home preparing herself with enthusiasm to join the new school. You forget and forgive every thing. You break your head and manage the requirement with much difficulty. Struggle continues to buy the school bag, uniforms, Friday dress, branded shoes, books, stationery- all from the vendors pre-decided by the school.


Such hegemonic conduct of several private educational establishments are beyond anybody’s scrutiny. It needs to leave to their conscience whether they are fair and reasonable in their activities. Do they uphold the greatest ideals of equality, honesty and social justice which are the primary objectives of education? Can their conduct make them guilty while claiming all privileges and governmental concessions as an educational institution?

And lastly, a very fair question from those academic heads:-- We need to maintain ourselves and therefore allow us to survive the competition. Who is forcing you to come to us for admissions? -- And I don’t have any answer.

Click to read related articles:

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The institutional child abuse
My mid-day break with out of school children
My son! Don't watch news!
A mother who learned from her teenage daughter
A man who left the commissioner's chair

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