From recorded videos to focus group discussions, new standard for pre-primary child intake interview process

Mumbai: After Covid, the pressure of admissions for their children reaches the parents | (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

Mumbai: August and September until the end of the year are nervous months for parents who have preschool children who wish to be admitted to school. Parents are not only worried about the ongoing admission but also worried about the very process which can range from an interview to some kind of GD to well shot pre-recorded videos of their service. The pandemic has little to do with it, but the children have had little exposure to any type of “reasoning” or “questioning”, (especially by anonymous people) until the “school interview “. The interview process is often a brutal shock, even for the parents.

Parents find the admissions process generally intimidating

The parents are exceptionally tense – as if they are going to be interrogated. Rushali Thakkar, a parent from Chembur, said: “The nervousness is still there. We went to several schools for my daughter, Kenisha admission, and we also had several interviews.

Rushali said the first thing all parents should keep in mind is that if the child has both parents, both must be present with the child at the time of admission. And this parent was also surprised that each school had its unique admissions questions. “We went to Greenacres Academy, where she was asked about her favorite color or food. Ryan International from Chembur, on the other hand, gave her a little test with basic math and types to fill in for English.

Kenisha, the child also undertook the admission process for Dhirubhai Ambani International School which watched her interact with other children in a room.

Other parents are not so forthright about the admissions process. They find the process tricky in some schools. A parent whose child has not yet been admitted says the change in school admissions patterns is significant and the child is confused about their attendance at all. “A child may not have answers to all the questions and if he did, he probably wouldn’t need school. Why put a child through a process? asked a parent.

Another parent said some schools also have reservations, which further skews the odds. “Go through a whole process and then realize there aren’t enough seats either.” Parents claim that after the 3rd or 4th interview, the child is tired of the “questions” and can often do poorly in defiance.

“Sometimes children retract after being confronted with unwelcome questions, with the result that the next interview will tend to go wrong,” said another parent.

Schools are divided on the validity of such a process

For schools, interaction with parents is important to understand the child’s background. Dr. Kavita Aggarwal, Principal of DG Khetan International School, explains, “We mainly interact with parents to find out about their qualifications and family background. We also understand their philosophy towards education. We only conduct one round of interview for a student and the outcome is further decided by the collective input of our counselor and admissions officer. »

Regarding types of admission process, some schools even allow parents to submit videos of their children, Sumit Dargan, Principal of JBCN International School, Chembur, said, “We understand that everyone is trying to deal with post-pandemic situations. and there is a high chance that the children will not be able to interact properly at this particular moment. Therefore, we also allow parents to send videos of their parish commitment with other family members. We don’t expect kids to try to communicate, maintain eye contact, or practice gross motor skills. »

And some schools don’t have elaborate admissions processes in place at all – some simply have a first-come, first-served basis, provided the essential criteria are in place.

“It’s an unnecessary pressure on the parents as well as on the child. When talking about the Right to Education (RTE), it is not acceptable to discriminate against them based solely on their performance in the interview. This is not consistent with “real education”. Diversity is the key. If children are excluded, the school might end up having a similar kind of perspective. And I think that’s not what education should be. Therefore, we do not conduct interviews, it is not justified. Instead, for admissions, we follow a lottery system,” said Ms Sunita George, Principal of Bombay Scottish School, Mahim.

“Children should ideally never be interrogated”

According to psychiatrist Dr Dayal Mirchandani, this is the wrong age to judge children. “Parents are more anxious than children, which is then transferred to children. Sometimes kids have a bad day and end up not performing well in the interview. Therefore, children should ideally never be interrogated because as long as the intelligence is normal, it is not necessary.

Dr Mirchandani added that unfortunately this is how the world works. Primarily, IG schools are meant to be more relaxed, but these schools also push kids so high just to compete with their rivals. All these absurd things keep happening, but it’s not good for anyone.

According to the Children’s Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, it is not permitted to carry out any selection process or charge a capitation fee at the time of admission of a child. Under Chapter IV, Section (13), Subsection (l), the Act states: “No school or person shall, on the admission of a child, charge a head fee and submit the child or his parents or guardian to a selection procedure. .”

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