Latheefa K.M. heard from her friend that the school she wanted to admit her son to had closed admissions in September last year.
She then started to systematically call the schools of her choice right from August as she wanted her son to get admitted to a ‘good’ CBSE school and could not afford to miss their application deadlines.
According to an official, the directorate of matriculation schools had sent a circular the previous year asking schools to begin admissions only in the first week of May.
“Every year we send instructions to schools about admissions, and this year we are working on a proposal to streamline the process and will inform schools soon. But, there is no change in the time frame mentioned in the earlier circular,” he affirmed.
A senior official of the school education department said the RTE Act also mandates that schools, including those affiliated with the CBSE, must begin admissions only a month prior to the commencement of the next academic year.
However, as has been the practice over the years, several schools have started issuing application forms for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten sections post-Vijayadasami for the academic year beginning 2013.
The early onset of the admission season only spells a long and mad scramble for parents seeking admission for their children for the academic year beginning only in June 2013. While it is mostly some CBSE schools which have begun admissions now, some matriculation schools too will soon follow suit.
When this reporter called up some of the matriculation schools as a parent enquiring when application forms would be issued for lower kindergarten, one school in Kilpauk asked to call in the second week of December, one in Anna Nagar by the end of December, and another in Nungambakkam in the first week of January.
The principal of a matriculation school in Adyar said they finish admissions for kindergarten classes by January.
And some schools which will begin admissions by April say that they might not weigh every application equitably, though the RTE Act prohibits any screening procedure. A principal of a matriculation school in Pammal said that they would definitely look at the background of the parents.
“At least one of the parents must be a graduate, so that they can train and support the child at home. Though we ask children to identify basic things such as colours, we don’t expect perfect replies,” she said, admitting that they are generally able to accommodate only 50 per cent of the applicants. An official said that when the circular was issued last year, several schools made a representation stating that conducting admissions a month before the academic year was difficult, as both students and teachers would be on vacations.
When Latheefa said that she can rest only after the final list of chosen students was out, as the number of application forms issued was hugely disproportionate to the number of seats in some schools she had enquired at, she was echoing the anxiety several parents face.
Explaining the rationale behind schools issuing application forms in excess of the number of available seats, and her school, double the number, Padmini Sriraman, principal, Hindu Senior Secondary School, Indira Nagar, said that several do not turn up for various reasons after they receive the call letter.
A principal of a much sought-after CBSE school said that though they issue the admission forms in November, they finalise the admission list only by March.
“There are so many procedures involved and we need time to go through the applications,” she said.
A parent said that a CBSE school he approached was giving admissions at the entry-level class only for siblings of students already studying in the school this year.