whose right is it anyway...

Komal may not be able to join her sister in school and that for no fault of hers. Her family filled up the forms in time and completed all the required formalities. As per the stipulated nursery admission procedure Komal should have got the needed points: she is a girl child, she has a sibling in school and she lives close to the school, albeit in a slum! And yet she did not make it to the final list.

One wonders why?

Is it that her address was not swanky enough, or that her father's job - he is our senior secondary teacher and has been solely responsible for ensuring that no pwhy student has ever failed a Board exam - is not upmarket and thus not exploitable, or is it that her mom is a simple housewife! Never mind if the government recently mandated that schools were not to consider parents qualifications and profession were not to come in the way of accepting or denying admission to a child. The fact is that for no fault of hers, this little girl did not make the list!

Once again we are faced with admission woes and one again innocent kids are caught in the incomprehensible nursery admission drama. Two friends just called to tell me that their children had not made it to the 19 schools they had applied in. In the case of one of them, a boy and an only child, he did not make it because he had no siblings in school, was not a girl, and his parents were both brought up and educated in another city. The entire admission list of the said schools was made up of siblings and/or alumni children. Where does a only boy child go! Something is definitely terrible wrong. The only ones who make a killing are schools who accept innumerable admission forms sold at a whopping profit. A recent survey revealed that in Delhi alone good public schools earned revenues by selling prospectus to an extent of Rs.5,000 crore.

So where do harrowed parents go! And here again the tale is sordid. We had a taste of it last year when Kiran needed admission. Things can always happen if you are willing to pay. We did exposed the matter last year and little Kiran got admission in another school and truly . We were relieved and believed that things would be simpler when her sister's turn came. How wrong we were or I guess should I say how gullible we were. Shylock always seeks his pound of flesh.

Little Komal only applies in one school, the one that had her sibling. When she did not make it, despair made us want to know why she had been rejected. I guess most parents just walk away dejected but hers did not. Upon seeing the keen interest they displayed, they were told to come back next week and meet the Chairperson. They did. They pleaded and pleaded and were thrilled when the said person finally acceded to their request. They were given a slip and sent to the accountant. The man perused the slip and asked them if they had brought the needful. They were perplexed. The man said money as he handed them a slip with a figure scribbled on it. The figure was for a whopping 35 K: admission fees and I guess a donation. He was quick to add that this was to be paid in cash, after that payments could be made by cheque.

How would the little family come up with this amount, and yet this amount held the key to the little girl's future. And this was no time for sting operations and whistle blowing, two little innocent girls morrows were at stake. The parents will find the money. They will beg, borrow, steal but will get their child admitted. At least she has secured admission!

This is what is happening in in a country where children now have a constitutional right to free
and compulsory education. Should one just again say: Oh darling yeh hai India!

Note: many government schools give admission on a lottery basis. Wonder if that is fairer! But the question remains: what happens to those who do not make it. When will we have a common neighborhood school for all our children.