HYDERABAD: The list of ‘possible questions’ for admissions to beginners level at the city schools is rather puzzling. Is it the child’s communication skills, knowledge of alphabets and numbers or is it all about parents’ profiles? The process of screening for admissions remains unquestioned though the schools should ideally be following a random selection process as mandated by the Right to Education (RTE) Act. “The lottery system or that of first-cum-first does not take into account the family. Some people challenge authority and refuse to follow the system in the school. It becomes difficult for the school to function that way,” reasons Mir Khutubuddin Khan, joint secretary and director of the Nasr Education Society. The school admits students at the nursery level through selection based on an interactive session with the parents and the child.
“We do not ask for written tests for children as they are too young for it. What we look at during an interactive session with the parents and the child is whether the parents are educated or share the enthusiasm to get their child educated and if the family provides a united front. School is about grooming and not about Chemistry and Physics,” observes the director, who believes screening is the only way “to select 120 out of 400 students who apply every year.” The RTE mandates that the schools select their wards through a lottery in the presence of the district magistrate, a practice few schools such as the Hyderabad Public School and St Ann’s follow. The schools can be fined Rs 25,000 for not following the regulations for the first contravention and Rs 50,000 on repeating it.
Most of the school managements feel that it is important to “choose” the wards for admission to ensure a “perfect fit” in their system. “We look at parenting skills of the family and for the child we look at normal development, hand-eye coordination and basic etiquette such as saying ‘Thank you’ during the interactive session,” explains Madhavi Chandra of Gitanjali Devashala who feels that it is important to meet the parents before the admission process. “It is important to get to know who we are schooling and even the parents need to know to whom they are sending their child for education,” points out Mir Khutubuddin Khan.
The Delhi Public School refused to comment on the written examination in practice for entry to nursery level. “The process of admissions is decided in Delhi and they regulate the different practices followed by the school,” said a member of the board at DPS, Hyderabad. The practice of filtering the students at the beginner’s level has escaped the notice of authorities. “The admissions have to be conducted through a process of lottery only. So far, we have not received any complaints from parents on screening procedures,” said District Education Officer E Balakeshaiah.