I am one of the few, rare breed of mothers who decided not to join the race for nursery admissions this year.
The decision was not an easy one to take , as mothers our natural inclination is to push our kids towards being the best; even if they are only 3 years old for Nursery Admissions. I had doubts if I was depriving my daughter of some important developmental process by not admitting her into “big school.” After in-depth discussions with family and her teachers at playschool I decided to continue at the playschool she is in for another year. This was sometime in the middle of last year.
As December approached, all the mothers around me started getting hyperactive. Application deadlines, forms, online and physical submission of documents, interviews, etc. became the focus of every conversation. Travel plans were shelved or rescheduled and I suddenly became an object of envy or pity. Some mothers thought I was lucky not getting stressed out this year. Others considered me foolish in leaving things for next year.
The peculiarity of Delhi is that we start off the academic lives our kids through a system of lucky draw. Whether you apply to 25 schools or 10, it’s purely by chance whether or not you shall get a seat. Schools try and project themselves to be fair and allocate points for criteria like distance, alumni, sibling, girl child, etc. In reality it all boils down to whether a chit with your child’s name will be picked out.
When I shifted to Delhi two decades ago someone told me that in this city it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. This holds true for nursery admissions as well. Schools receive calls from top politicians, IAS officers, sports people , everyone , you name it and there is a contact ready to put in a word for your child.
But what of those who don’t have such contacts?
People who belong to normal, middle class backgrounds, who did not bother to cultivate important contacts into their daily existence? Well, if you are unfortunate enough not to have been called in any draw of lots then all you can do is wait; and pray. Wait for a 2nd or 3rd list to be released in schools and pray for a miracle. This is how we start our kids off in life.
So who do we blame for this flawed system? The government? The schools? The entire culture of Delhi? Or all of the above? There are kids who have gotten called in 5-6 schools while others not in a single one. Parents have the money to block seats in multiple schools, essentially taking up someone else’s seat. Because let’s face it-at the end of the day your child will only join ONE school. Shouldn’t there be a cap to the number of lucky draws a child can be a part of? If you have your name in 5 schools, how can you keep all 5 seats on hold while you decide what to do? Where is the equality or the justice in this system?
Nursery admissions are for kids who are 3+. Even at that age, when our children are just learning how to express themselves, we have such tremendous pressure to get into “the best.” Not according to what is best for our children but according to what is considered the best by society. Take a step back moms. Your child might not even be ready for “big school”. He or she might get lost in the crowd of 30-35 students in a class. He or she might be miserable travelling long distances to reach and return from school. Your decision needs to be based on what is right for your child, not what 100 other people tell you is the right thing to do.