rejected by 18 schools and nowhere to go

Little D has been rejected by 18 schools. He is just three and was one of the 400 000 aspirants to the 200 000 seats in nurseries run by coveted schools. So even with my poor math 200 000 kids are left in the lurch having failed to meet the requirements of the complicated and ambiguous point system.

Let me elucidate. Little D applied to a neighborhood school thus getting the proximity to school points. But that is where it stops he cannot get the 5 points he would have got were his parents alumni of the school - they belong to another city - or the 2o if he had a sibling in school - he is the first child- , or the 5 if he was a girl child - he is a boy - or the whopping 20 were his parents post graduates - his family is one of first generation learners who want to give the best to their child.

The point system is needless to say elitist, even though it pretends to be fair and transparent. Fees charged by private schools are indeed a deterrent but even if a first generation learner parent managed to surmount this obstacle, the point system ensures that he will be weeded out sooner than later. The caste system pervades insidiously and surreptitiously and we will keep the status quo. Good schools for kids with sparkling pedigrees, the others relegated to the squalor of municipal schools by force majeure. Yes how can little D produce a masters degree for his parents and even if he did how could they manage to fill the long questionnaire akin to an exam paper or answer the questions fired to them in a language they do not master. The Ganguly 100 pint system is a clever ploy to preserve the prerogative of the upper classes. Schools in India have a long way to go before they become level playing grounds for all the children of India, you know the ones who have a constitutional right to free education of equitable quality!

So where does D go from here, or where do the 200 000 rejected children go. To private nursery schools I guess till next year when they will need to get admissions in class I. But these classes will already be filled with the school's nursery kids. True there are lesser schools, those that have not yet become famous and then there are the state run schools both by the municipal corporation and the state administration the later a little better than the former. But as things stand this is not yet an option for the parents of the 200 000 kids. I say not yet because the day is not far when they may just have to become the only viable alternative or so one would want: a common school that offers free and equitable education for all. True that the road will be long and the detractors many, and true again that the state run schools will need to be revamped and restyled. Let us go back a few years, oh not so very long ago, to the days when public schools were few and many children from the middle class went to government schools. Peruse the bio data of present and past senior government officers, bankers and other well placed people and you will see that they are often product of government schools. So why can this not happen again.

Today the obsession of sending your child to a English Medium Public School has percolated to the lowest classes of society. Yet it was music to my years to hear some parents mention on the various debate on admission aired on every channel the word government school. True that everyone felt they were not an option as the were poorly run, but somehow one felt that if they were made better parents would consider it an option. So why can't we? Maybe because there are many forces who do not want this to happen, but that is another debate. The reality is that as I write these words is that 200 000 kids have been rejected and have nowhere to go!