When will they get their act together

It is nursery admission time again. Time for schools to raking in the moolah! The sale of roms is expected to bring in 1200 crores rupees. Now we all know the situation on the ground: not enough schools and too many applicants. This has been the same story year after year. Parents have to apply to umpteen schools each charging a whopping amount for a mere form. How can I forget the little boy rejected by 18 schools for no fault of his. That was three years ago!

I was appalled and bemused by the answer given by our eminent CEO when quizzed on the issue:  These days one is seeing news items highlighting how parents are worried over children not getting admissions in schools. This is happening because our government has been building awareness that children from all sections of society must go to school. Hence, now all parents want their children to go to school said she! Now Dear Lady this has been going on for the last three years at least if not more.

This year the problem was closer home. The coordinator of our women centre is seeking admission for his 3+ year old. He has already collected and filled many forms, some at the cost of 700 Rs and more and is running from pillar to post. You see he lives in an area where there are no good schools in a 3km radius, his child is male, he is a first child and hence has no siblings, his parents are not alumni of any school so he runs the race with a huge handicap. That is not all. Some schools have introduced new criteria. It has been named RAA or Representative Affirmative Action. Wonder what that is? Well private schools have decided to reserve 15% seats to children of Doctors, Engineers and Lawyers. India really seems to be fine tuning the quota syndrome. And the logic mooted is strange and perplexing and stated as follows: The purpose of introducing this criterion is to provide a common platform of education to children belonging to families working in different fields. This is an effort towards building a glorious nation. I am at a loss of words.Some schools are also offering extra points for twins, and of course there are extra points for the children of single parents. Our little candidate has none of these advantages. The situation is Dantesque.

Whether he will make it to a good school is a million dollar question.

Is Government school an option? Not quite as one knows of the reputation of these schools. Sadly they have not become the centre of excellence they should have been and remain in a poor if not abysmal state. We have first hand knowledge of this as all project why children attend them and share their day-to-day experiences. You have to hear them to believe them. Dickensian schools seem like heaven compared to what goes on in some of our state run institutions.

Every child now has the right to a good education. That is what our law makers wants us to believe. By this yardstick all schools in our country should be enabled to provide quality education. Education should in no way be a commercial enterprise an a way of enriching one's self at the expense of helpless parents. Why should forms cost from 500 to 1000 Rs? The solutions proffered like the lottery system also do not make any sense. Come on! Should a child's future be left to lady luck.

It is time the Government seriously walked the talked and not trivialise the issue as it seems to be doing. It is time they put their act together. The children of India deserve the best.