NEW DELHI: It?s that time of the year when thousands of anxious parents stand in serpentine queues outside popular schools in Delhi, just to pick up a nursery admission form, the sale of which is expected to fetch a revenue of Rs12 billion for these institutions.
Despite efforts by the government and activists to ease the anxiety, little seems to have changed this year for parents who complain of expensive prospectuses, lack of online forms and the points-based admission criteria.
?When I reached at 8am on Thursday, there were 50 people in front of me. I thought it had been four days and the queues would be shorter, but I had to stand there for three hours,? said Vinay Rathi, who had taken a day off from work to collect forms from various schools.
Many schools in Delhi said they sold twice the number of registration forms on Thursday compared to the previous days since admissions opened on January 2.
?We have over 150 seats that we offer each year at the nursery level. After three days of sale of admission forms, we have given about 800 forms under the economically weaker section (EWS) category, and 1,800 forms under the general category. Such is the demand,? RK Sharma, principal of Ahlcon Public School, said.
Sharma said there were only a few schools in Delhi compared to the demand. There are about 4,500 schools in Delhi and National Capital Region, of which over 2,000 are unaided private institutions which are preferred by parents over government-run ones.
Many parents also complain that all schools distributing forms simultaneously makes things difficult for them as the forms are available only for a couple of hours every day. ?It would be nice if the forms could be collected online as is the case with a handful of schools,? Soudamini, a parent, said.
The principal of a school advises that parents should apply to less well known schools and not just run after the popular ones. ?Parents need to relax and consider schools beyond the popular ones,? he said.
But Amit Rathod after fighting to get his daughter into school, says the process is always stressful for parents.?Every parent randomly applies for about 30 schools in the city; even then they are not able to get a seat just because of this points-based system,? he said.
Under the points-based system, an aspirant is awarded points for various criteria decided by the school such as proximity to the home, parents being alumni and siblings already studying in the institution.
?My son lost out last year because I studied in a government school, while most good private schools gave a lot of weightage to the children of alumni. My son doesn?t fall in any other category either - like single parent and having a sibling; so the chances seem very bleak this year too,? says Sharbani Gaur, a resident of Vasant Kunj.
Many schools also flout the Delhi government?s order not to force parents to buy the prospectus. ?Several schools force parents to buy the prospectus along with the admission form despite protests by parents,? he added.
While an admission form costs Rs25, prospectuses vary from school to school from Rs100 to Rs200. Some prospectuses cost more than those of Delhi University and the Indian Institutes of Management.