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Bangalore Schools, which started as a Facebook page, will be holding expo for students, parents, and schools in January

Which curriculum is best suited for your child? Is there a school that gives importance to both academics and extracurricular activities? Admission season is well underway as emotionally fraught parents try to make the best choice for their children. And many are hoping to get answers at the Bangalore Schools Expo next month.

The genesis of this platform, which aims to bring students, parents, and schools together, was a social media page on Facebook made seven years ago by one parent. Called Bangalore Schools, it began with a handful of followers, but has grown over the years. Today, it has nearly 43,000 members, a majority of whom are parents.

In 2012, Shweta Saran, whose daughter is now a little over nine years old, made the page with the intention of helping people get reviews on schools from other parents. It has since evolved to cover more issues that are actively discussed. A group of parents help run the platform.

“We want to give a voice to parents, educate them, and also make school managements accountable. For instance, we try and make our members aware of several policy issues and have been advocating that admission tests for children be banned. We also ask parents to check the weight of the school bag after the State government passed an order on this,” said Ms. Saran.

The social media page allows parents to take ‘virtual’ tours of 15 schools through Facebook live, which is followed by FAQs on various subjects such as pupil-teacher ratio in classrooms, curriculum followed, and so on.

Ms. Saran is happy to see it grow into a large-scale extended support base. The administrators of the group say they “seriously want to try and change the system.” The idea to organise an expo took root after they received requests from parents to organise events offline as well.

Sponsors

Some schools have also agreed to sponsor. Manoj Thelakkat, co-admin, Bangalore Schools, said that they have been visiting several expos in the last one-and-a-half years. “We found that most of them were about assisting enrolment drives, or B2B expos where vendors were trying to connect with schools and vice versa. None of them connected with parents, students, educators, school managements, and service providers on one platform and our expo tries to bring them together,” he said.

Parents believe it will be a “good way to understand the education eco-system”. Some of the planned activities include panel discussions and activities for children. “We will have stalls for vendors like education entrepreneurs, vendors, companies selling ed-tech products, bookstores, and publishers,” Ms. Saran said.

The event also aims to provide a platform to non-teaching staff such as helpers and drivers. Some of the panel discussions will be conducted on the topics: homeschooling and alternative spaces, and which syllabus should you choose for your child and why. The expo will be held on January 4 and 5 at NIMHANS convention hall. Entry is free.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 2:53:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/from-an-online-group-to-a-vibrant-community/article30308106.ece

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