This Article is From Jan 20, 2010

Mumbai: The pre-school admission stress

Mumbai: The pre-school admission stress
Mumbai: Mumbai is in the grip of admission fever as scores of parents camp outside schools, only to get the admission forms. That's because in some cases only limited number of forms are given out. Many schools also interview both the parents and children, something that is against the guidelines.

Some of the parents have been camping on pavements in front of schools since Sunday morning even though the admissions forms counter opened at 10 am on Monday.

''We came on Sunday morning. We were asked to come back later. We took the token, waited till midnight and returned at 5 am to take our place in the queue,'' said a parent.

''There is no one at home, so I had no choice but to bring my three-year-old along,'' said another camping parent.

Even though parents have been in line for a long time, there is no guarantee of admissions. It only means they will be able to buy the forms.

An average of eight lakh children queue up for pre-schools admissions in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai every year and the rush is equally desperate.

Experts say pre-school education continues to be fairly unregulated even today. Some schools give out limited forms while some others give admission on a first-come, first-serve basis as per guidelines.

But many schools continue to put toddlers through a selection process. Even the parents are interviewed, both against the guidelines.

''There is no regulation. Pre-schools don't come under the Education Department, but under Women and Child Development. The guidelines were made some 18 years ago by the Ram Joshi Committee, and even those are not followed,'' said Swati Popat, Director, Podar pre-schools.

So, queues like these are not only unavoidable but interviews and elimination rounds for three-year-olds are a night mare.