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The dreaded phase arrives

Dear Diary,

I am totally confused, and worried. It’s the time that each parent has to go through at least once in his/her lifetime, and if they are from India, it is ‘the most’ dreaded a time. The time for child’s school admission.

The schools start their admission processes in August end. The parents get a week or at-max two weeks to pick the form, fill it, and submit. And, if you look at the forms, they are of the same format as the MBA admission interview forms – the search-your-soul, rack-your-brains and tell me ‘why you want to do MBA’.
The questions are now like ‘How will you make your child responsible for his/her own learning?’
Now, tell me how would you, or anybody, answer this question? You are the parent of a 3 yr old, who has still not learnt how to clean his poo-poo on his own, and you are asked how will you ensure that the child not only learns, but learns on his ‘own’, and that too ‘responsibly’.
Man! You gotta be crazy!

Anyways, that is not the reason I’m confused. That is only adding to the ‘worry’ part.. how I am going to answer those silly questions and still not piss-off the interviewer. What I’m confused about is how to put him in a school where he’s not over-burdened with studies, yet he’s not totally left to play and take his own course of fate. And yes, there are schools which are doing exactly the latter.
I met Anay’s play-school’s teacher a couple of days ago to understand what the schools are looking for in the interviews, from parents, and from the child. Then the conversation steered to the quality of students already studying in these schools. So, she cited a school saying that while they do not pressurize the child for studies, they are pretty much leaving the child to find his own path. Thus, when you talk to these kids, they are as dumb as it gets. And, this is how they are creating world’ leaders. On the other hand, when you talk to the schools operating the traditional way, (I spoke to one of our friends whose kid is studying there), they just concentrate on the top-few students. In the batch size of 40, they are only concerned about the top-15. If your child is shy/introvert/not-yet-comfortable in the class, then he/she can learn on his own. So much so, that they don’t even bother asking for the homework done. And, if the child is unable to do some particular task, it’s handed over as home-work to the child. Basically, no extra effort put to try and teach the child the basic. It’s pretty much the parents’ responsibility to understand the child and teach him.

This is the picture for most of the schools in Noida and Indirapuram. Now, coming to the premium schools. Charges heavily, gives your child premium extra-curriculars and fancy benches to sit on. What is the pull? The major pull for any sensible parent is not the fancy items but the batch size. So, in comparison to the traditional schools, these have a batch size of 20-24 (claimed), 30 (practical, at max). The schools falling in this bracket – Mayoor, Lotus Valley, Pathways, Step-by-Step, Genesis. And these are listed in their increasing order of fees. The last three are also the schools which have affiliation to IB/ IGCSE boards of education, apart from/rather than CBSE.

I don’t think I’ll be going for the steep-fees schools because I see no value-addition. I did wish to send my child to an IB school but apart from Pathways, others don’t even claim to be using IB curriculum for junior kids.

My only concern is how to ensure that I don’t crush the child’s curiosity and innate inquisitiveness in this rat race. The curriculum, peer pressure, teachers, school environment, they all play a major role on the direction a child takes. They are so small that unless they are genius, they don’t even realize they are being pushed. They just follow. I want his childhood to be about exploring, about discoveries than about mugging and following one class after another. And if the school already fills it up with all that, the child has no time left.

I don’t know where this is going. Just keeping faith in God and hoping things will work out.

Be with me.


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