New Delhi: Thousands of parents are undergoing a harrowing time as they battle to get their children into nursery classes of leading schools in the national capital. But many are celebrating too.
With a little over 20 private schools emerging as virtual status symbols, not getting admission in them leaves many families distraught. More so when many parents are willing to shell out huge sums as "donation money".
One parent related her "harrowing experience" vis-a-vis the nursery struggle. And a doctor spoke of parents having "psycho-emotional turmoil" if their child failed to make the cut.
"I am may be one of the lucky few to have my son admitted to one of the reputed schools of Delhi without much hassle," Nilanjana Bose, a relieved young mother, told IANS.
But until it happened, she confessed she too was "stressed, worried and anxious".
For every Bose, there are many despairing parents.
A mother who failed to secure the school of her choice for her three-year-old son told IANS: "It is a really very tough time that I am going through right now."
Delhi has nearly 5,000 schools, including those run by the government. However, parents vie to get their children admitted to some top 20 schools controlled by private bodies.
These include Vasant Valley School, The Shri Ram School, Sanskriti School, Delhi Public School, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Mothers International, Modern School, Springdales School, Air Force Bal Bharti School, Amity International School, Apeejay School, St Francis School and Mount Carmel School.
Sumit Vohra, who runs an online forum to help parents, says that every year some 400,000 applications pour in for around 100,000 nursery seats in Delhi.
A quarter of these are reserved for economically weaker sections, he said.
The leading schools don`t come cheap. Their monthly fees, even at the nursery level, can range from Rs.2,000 to a whopping Rs.15,000.
If parents do not get a school of their choice, it can even trigger depression.
Sunil Kumar, a doctor at Ethos Body and Mind Care, said every year he and his colleagues get many such cases.
"Failure to get a seat in a reputed school leads to major psycho-emotional turmoil. It varies from frustration to depression. There is a feeling of rejection, failure or being left out," Kumar told IANS.
He described the prestigious schools as a "status symbol".
The admission process in schools begins in the third week of January. The first list of selected candidates is supposed to come out in the last week of February.
There is a point system followed for admission into the nursery section.
Parents living within one to eight kilometres from the school get 70 points. There are 20 points for those already with a child in that school, and five points if one was an alumnus of the school.
Five more points are given in case of an interstate transfer. This has become a bone of contention between a section of the parents and the Delhi government leading to litigation.
Normally, the nursery session starts in the first week of April. But this year the session is yet to start due to judicial battles.
Parents who fail to get their child into the top schools then got what they think is the next best option. Even this is not easy.
If all this was not enough, some new schools in the city are allegedly forcing parents to cough up Rs.50,000 to Rs.2 lakh in cash, without giving them receipt, if they want a seat for their children.