CHENNAI: A week ago, Shankar* told his boss he would not be able to work on Saturday. He had an important task – which required standing in queue in front of a school to get an application for his daughter’s nursery admission.
He was part of more than 100 parents standing before Holy Angels School in T Nagar in a line that extended to the Globus retail showroom. But no one was complaining. “This school doesn’t issue online applications because many parents seeking admission for their wards are not internet-savvy. And, this hardship is only for a day. If I get a seat here for my daughter, it will be worth the wait,” said Shankar, who reached the venue four hours before the school began issuing applications at 1pm.
Some parents, however, felt the school could have introduced both online and offline modes of issuing applications. “It’s almost like the school wants to see whether parents will make that extra effort to ensure that they get the seat,” said Shikha, a parent.
Institutions like Chennai Public School, Everwin Vidyashram, Pon Vidyashram and PSBB Millennium School in Gerugambakkam have completed online admissions, having started the process in November or December 2014. A 2012 government order directed schools to start admissions only in April.
“This is a direct violation of the RTE norms. But, in a city like Chennai it’s becoming hard to rein in schools. Parents, who are enamoured by these schools, clamour for early admissions and the schools find it hard to resist,” said Subramaniam, inspector of Anglo-Indian schools in Chennai. He said schools also earn a pretty sum from sale of applications. A school selling 2,000 applications for 45 seats at Rs 500 a form can net Rs 10 lakh at one go, said Subramaniam.
Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation Higher Secondary Schools state general secretary K R Nandakumar said, “Many schools in Chennai are conducting admissions before the date prescribed by the state. We should follow government norms so it will be convenient for parents who are getting transfers. But, schools are conducting admissions according to their convenience, and parents who can afford to pay hefty sums are getting seats. This is not a healthy practice.”
Several leading CBSE schools, including PSBB, Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram, Chinmaya Vidyalaya and DAV Senior Secondary School, start nursery admissions in February. Members of the Chennai Sahodaya of CBSE schools said they had decided on February and not May because their academic year begins in April, after a short vacation in March.
(* Names changed)
April 2 – Schools to prepare and display number of students to be admitted under the 25% reservation clause of the RTE Act
April 10 – application forms to be issued in state board and matriculation schools, as per state order
February -application forms to be issued in CBSE schools, as per decision taken by Chennai Sahodaya
Admission criteria for children seeking admission under the general category
Children living within a radius of 1km to 5km from the school
Priority to siblings of students in the same school
Children of teaching and non-teaching staff in the school
Admission criteria for children seeking admission under the 25% reservation clause of RTE Act
Children from a family with an income level of less than Rs2 lakh a year
Children from SC / ST and OBC communities
Children with disabilities
Children of scavengers
Admission dates in leading CBSE schools
PSBB Group of Schools – online registration from February 1 to 3 for Pre-KG
DAV Boys Senior Secondary School, Mogappair – application forms to be obtained in person on February 9 and 10 for LKG
Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram – online registration on February 9 for LKG
Chettinad Vidyashram – application forms to be obtained in person from February 9 to 15 for Pre-KG and LKG
Source: Times of India