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Nursery school admissions more chilling than severe Delhi winter
Whether or not the next few winter days in Delhi end up being the coldest ever, one thing for sure is that this year's nursery admissions process will just get more chilling and will remain etched in the memory of Delhi Parents for a long time to come.

PARENTS OF three-year-old kids in Delhi are getting shivers nowadays. It is not due to the severe cold wave that is hitting Delhi but due to the nursery admissions’ process for 2012-2013 session in Delhi schools, which are about to start in less than a week from now, on 2nd Jan 2012.


What makes admission process in Delhi schools so unique this year? According to Co-Founder and CEO of SchoolAdmissions.in, Mr. Rajan Arora, this year nursery admissions process in Delhi is highly unique and full of suspense.


Though there are many reasons behind it, the most important of them is the uncertainty over the decision regarding the fact that whether admission of a 3+ child in a pre-school or nursery as it is called can be considered as the entry level to a formal school. The matter is now sub-Judice with the Delhi High Court set to decide the issue on Jan 6 2012.


Delhi based NGO, Social Jurist had filed a PIL with the Delhi High Court seeking the implementation of an earlier judgment passed by the Court, that had said that no child below the age of four years, should be admitted to a formal school. In the last hearing on this matter on Dec 21st 2011, Mr. Ashok Agarwal, counsel for the petitioner Social Jurist, had sought a stay on the nursery admission process but the stay was not granted.


Now, with the nursery admission process about to begin on the second day of the New Year, parents are in a catch 22 situation about what to do. In a telephonic interview with Rajan Arora on 21st Dec 2011 after the court hearing, Ashok Agarwal had suggested that parents should wait for the court decision on 6th Jan 2012 and he was quite confident that the courts would side with the NGO and entry age would be changed to 4+.


According to Ms. Puja Arora, Founder/COO of SchoolAdmissions.in: "If the court decides on 6th Jan that the entry level age of formal school admissions would be 4+, then the entire exercise of filling up nursery admission forms for their kids would seem like a big waste of time and effort. On the other hand if they decide to wait for the court decision, they would end up losing five valuable days since this year all schools have been directed to close issue and receipt of nursery admission forms by 16th Jan 2012."


She also felt that most parents were hoping for a decision on the age issue of entry to formal school in Delhi on 21st Dec 2011 but were suddenly caught on the wrong foot, with the matter still not decided. Quoting Ms. Arora: " Post 21st Dec hearing in the court, parents are very confused regarding the admission age criteria and we are getting hundreds of queries daily through email and in forums with parents just asking if their child is eligible for formal school admission in Delhi this year or not. In order to provide parents with quick guidance, we decided to start the live chat feature on www.SchoolAdmissions.in for the first time this year and our team is guiding parents on one to one basis using that.”


Secondly, due to the delay in issuance of Pre-school admission guidelines this year and the court case, even the schools decided to play the wait and watch game before formulating and announcing their nursery admission criteria and procedure for 2012-2013 session and most of the schools are yet to declare the details as on 28th Dec 2011. Many schools have just released the dates on which admissions would start without going in detail about the procedure, which it appears they are still deciding and might make public only in the New Year. This is giving parents sleepless nights and further adding to their woes this year.


Thirdly, with the implementation of the Right To Education Act in Delhi since last year, 25% seats in every school have been reserved for EWS ( Economically Weaker Sections), thus leading to decrease in number of seats available for the general category students. Adding to that is the weight-age being given by most schools for alumni and sibling categories has further reduced the chances of parents in this category of getting a school of their choice for their little one's this year too. Schools also have a reservation for management quota and many parents are trying to find a way of securing the nursery admission seats using this route.


Fourthly, with every school free to choose the selection procedure, it is becoming very difficult for parents to plan as some schools are opting for the lottery route, some for point based system and some are allocating seats for different categories.


Finally, parents have been given just 15 days to complete the entire process of procuring and submitting nursery admission forms in multiple schools which has further decreased considering the weekend holidays, when most schools would be closed. This roughly leaves parents with just 12 days to do everything. They are already planning on taking leaves from their work and splitting the responsibilities amongst themselves.


Thousands of parents in Delhi are daily flocking to www.SchoolAdmissions.in - India's first and most popular four year old community website dedicated to providing support and latest information about nursery and school admissions and spending a major part of their time posting queries and researching about various schools in Delhi.


"The rush we are witnessing can be compared to the last minute shopping phenomenon witnessed during the festivals," said Puja, who like other parents is undertaking nursery admissions this year for her younger son, AArav, who turned 3 in October 2011.


However, Puja and Rajan Arora have not got any time till now to plan about their little one's admission and are presently just focusing on helping thousands of parents in Delhi who are seeking their help and advice.


"We feel like Chefs, who have got a mission on hand to cook a wonderful meal for thousands of other people. While doing so, you generally end up forgetting about your own hunger. We want to help parents fight the chill of Delhi nursery admissions process this year, by providing them with whatever possible little warmth we can through answering their queries using our experience and providing them with timely alerts and tips on SchoolAdmissions.in community," said Puja Arora.


"Our advice to parents is to plan and start with the nursery admissions process from 2nd Jan 2012, while simultaneously keeping an eye on the Delhi High Court hearing scheduled on 6th Jan 2012. If the decision comes in favor of entry level age to formal school being made 4+, then parents can choose to keep their little one's in a neighborhood play school for another year and let them enjoy the informal education environment for some more time." suggested Rajan Arora.


Now, instead of planning on how to celebrate and welcome the New Year 2012, every parent of a 3- year- old kid in Delhi is looking forward to two important dates, 2nd Jan and 6th Jan 2012, with crossed fingers and praying for the best.


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