KOCHI: In the ancient times education held a scared place in the lives of the people. But in the modern era, education too has become a means of earning money. It is now purely business.
Over the past few years the number of kindergartens in the city has gone up. And each have their own unique curriculum. Gone are the days when nursery rhymes, alphabets and basic numerals were the curriculum in the kindergartens. These new generation kindergartens offer out of the box learning techniques but for a price. The fees structure of these institutions vary according to the learning materials and techniques that they have to offer. Educating a toddler has become now a very costly affair today with preschools charging a fee starting anywhere from `30,000 and onwards annually along with other miscellaneous fees.
Most of these institutions claim to follow an international curriculum style which is a mix of programmes that aims at enhancing a child’s inner potential along with laying a strong academic foundation.
Beena Mathew, the in-charge of British International School points out that they have their own curriculum, that has the essence of the curriculum followed in UK. “It is more of a play-day method, where children engage in a lot of fun activities. The teachers are Montessori trained. Though the medium we follow here is English, most teachers are trained to teach in at least three different languages as we have students from different cultures.”
The school has a fee structure of `23,100 annually which is inclusive of books and uniforms. Apart from an amount for day care and other facilities.
Another school, where an average parent would think twice before admitting their child, is the German Metropolitan International School. Despite an annual fee of `50,000 and an entry fee of `75,000 which can be paid in instalments, parents are eager to give their toddler the flexible curriculum offered by the institute with bilingual classes in German, Malayalam and English.
“This is one of those schools which has an international curriculum for children which is unnecessary in reality. I backed out from admitting my son there. I believe the fee is quite exorbitant for a toddler,” said a parent, who had tried for admission at the same preschool a year ago.
Today one of the pre-requisites to get an admission to some of these preschool is that the child has to know the basic alphabets before hand. USKIDS, the preschool which claims to follow a truly international curriculum, is one such school that prefers its new admissions to know alphabets.
“If my child already knows alphabets and all other basics then I do not think I should put her in preschool that too one which has a costly fee tag. I thought it was the job of preschool teachers to teach children alphabets and numerals,” said Praveen Kumar,from Edapally, a parent who was seeking admission for his daughter in preschool.
Vinaya Sharath, who runs Adhyakshari Pre-school observes that many of the new generation pre-schools that have opened in the city do not cater to the middle class. “At Adhyakshari, we prepare our own curriculum. We do not believe in over burdening small children with a curriculum they are not ready for, unlike some other preschools.”
Vinya points out that few preschools follow a system where they collect fee for various things other than the tuition fee. “There are preschools which has two or three uniforms, which is quite unwanted. These preschools have a system of cashing in on occasions such as the annual day where a child is asked to pay extra if they have to bring their grandparents to the programme. These are the kind of things we avoid at Adhyakshari. We have tuition fee of Rs 2,500 per month.”