Schooling lays a strong foundation for a child’s future. We have all heard it and seen it, but when these schools are only corrupt how do we ensure to have a strong corruption free foundation for our kids?
Every parent who lives in South Mumbai knows how tough it is to get admission for his or her child in primary school. Interview training, prepping your 4 year old to talk like a parrot is all very common these days. Talk confidently, greet the teacher, dress up like you are going for a job interview (even for kids), every 4 year old has to undergo this non-sense even when they are just learning the art of talking.
Almost all the cities across India have simplified this process and given preferential criteria to save the child and parents from this stress. As long as you live near the vicinity you have a high chance of getting admission, which is fair considering the convenience for the child and parents by saving time in commutation.
But no Mumbai schooling is not like that. You don’t need to be educated, your child doesn’t need to be smart, and most importantly you don’t need to live in vicinity. If you have to send your kid to a good school then you need to kill your inside soul, leave ethics aside and just pay the money for donation to get a seat secured. And why not, after all what is 7-8 lacs in today’s time when it gives you peace of mind for the next 14 years for your kid.
I always thought how can schools which are supposed to be teaching the right ethics, morals and values of life run like this. But boy was I wrong! This year was an eye opener. I like all other 2000 worried parents filled admission forms of the leading schools of South Mumbai hoping to get admission in one of them. I’m not writing this because I didn’t get admission, I got admission in one of the schools which had the most hassle free and fair admission process so no I don’t write this as a grudging parent. I write this because I see parents who are deserving but not getting because there are others who don’t mind paying donation and schools who with open arms take money.
So, when the admission process started in November 2017, I had filled most of the forms that were near my home or office for ease of pickup and drop. I live in Mazgaon so obviously my preference was St. Mary School which is just 500m from my house. On the interview day, we dressed up, made our kid also wear formal clothes because that’s what the school expects from a 4 year old, prepped him to answer the standard questions, kept on badgering him to not forget and talk in full sentences because a 4 year old should know how to talk confidently, right?
We reached the school on time, waited for hours and hours for our turn to come. Just when our child was irritated and hungry after waiting for 2 hours in the heat, we were called for interview. The teacher asked few questions to our kid that he answered with half energy because the waiting had literally drained him from all the energy. Nevertheless we finished with interview in 4 minutes and were asked to go home and wait.
Then the wait started, a week went by, then a month, then 2 months, then 3 months and then 4 months. Each month kept the hope alive that we were going to get admission. There was no reason to not get, we live literally next door, both of us were engineers, I even had a masters degree from USA, so why would we not get admission.
Well then one day we got the dreadful SMS, “we regret to inform you that your son cannot get admission in Kg 2018-19 at St Mary”. We were shocked but then after a while reality kicked in. When I heard that kids who can barely speak, who live far from school and parents who are just high school graduates are getting admission, the rumor was confirmed. It’s a donation game, schools are in dilapidated conditions, they need money to renovate and the only way they can think of is extort money from desperate parents who would go to any length to get admission.
I don’t have any grudge with the school, everyone is corrupt these days, everyone wants money. It’s the lack of regulation and rules from the government. Delhi government has come with strict rule, first preference to people living within 1 km, then 2 kms, then 4 and so on. It’s fair, simple and transparent. Why cannot government in Mumbai do the same? Why is it letting this corrupt system continue year on year without regulating how the admissions are going on. I don’t think that government or education department is not aware of how the admissions are going on here? I’m probably not the only one raising a voice against this corrupt system and I’m sure I won’t be the last.
A child should have the right to study in the school closest to the house and the school should also ensure that. It’s right and it’s better especially for schools in Mumbai which everyday face a chaos due to traffic jams happening while pickup and drop.
I’m lucky that I got in St. Xaviers Boys Academy that has a no-donation linked admission policy, but shouldn’t other schools do the same? If they need money, then do fund-raising events, ask parents whose kids are already studying for contribution but don’t sell seats in a school like this. If the institutions that are supposed to be teaching the children not to be corrupt are themselves corrupt then what chances do we have for a corrupt free India?