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Some schools will always be better but all need to be good

Last year, my friend took a brave step. Rather than joining the rat race to put his kid in one of the top private school 10 kilometers away, he chose a ‘’decent one ‘’ in the neighbourhod. The gamble paid off. The four-year-old boy was to shy to talk but is now the most popular kid in the class.

He can spell words using phonetics, loves judo and, with many classmates living in the neighbourhood, has a hectic social life even after school. His dad, of course, is the happiest. The school is only a 10 minute drive from home. I also know others who went through the difficult, tiring and very competitive process of nursery admissions.

One even faked a rent agreement to show he lived in the vicinity of a very sought-after school to gain points under the neighbourhod criteria. Apparently, there are so many parents faking their residential addresses that schools have started physical verification to detect the fraud. Getting a seat in an elite school was never easy.

All through my growing years, I heard stories of parents paying huge donations to get the coveted seat. One of my neighbours was euphemistically asked to send his child in a brand new bus on the first day to school. I know many parents who tried political connections or tapped their networked friends. Following extensive litigation against such class-bias in selection of children, we now have court-mandated rules for nursery admissions.

  The Ganguly Committee report accepted by the court in 2007   prohibited all testing and interviews of children and their parents,   recommending that schools decide a child’s eligibility based on a   100 point scale.

  Recently, schools have been allowed to set their own admission   same school norms and most follow the point system that rewards   girls, students with older siblings in the,   children of alumni and   those living in the neighbourhood. Others have devised their   unique criteria. According to Education World magazine, some   school. Offer points to parents who had   participated in the Asiad   and Olympics or who are employed in certain government service.

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