Direct your child to big school
The subject of nursery admission in Delhi has been a subject of news headlines. This year was no different with the added complication of the pandemic.
The admission year 2021-22 was different from previous years – we were in the middle of a mild break from the raging pandemic. Even though it was a short break from the pandemic in hindsight, the ordeal was far from over and we all knew this.
While the Govt conveniently announced that all admission formalities must be done online, the schools scrambled to get their years-old and sometimes archaic admission processes updated to be in line with the new guidelines.
The guidelines lacked a key directive as they only mandated that the forms should be available online and some “due dates” but there was no clear process mandated to Schools.
So, as the start date of availability of forms arrived, there was chaos, at least on parents WhatsApp groups and discussion forums.
Here are some variations of processes that parents had to deal with in the absence of a common process:
- Online form, online submission, online documents upload, online payment – no offline step
- Online form, online submission, online documents upload, online payment but a second submission of physical copy at school campus
- Online form, online submission, online payment but the supporting documents submitted at school campus
- Online form and online payment – form and document submission at school
- Online form, online submission, online documents upload – Payment by Demand draft of Rs 25
- Download PDF form from website, fill it and submit at school (one school didn’t even have a proper form pdf, they had clicked picture of a wrinkled form and uploaded to the site)
There were also discrepancies in the documentation need for same category of documents, some examples are:
- Address proof – while some schools accepted a single address proof for one of the parents, others required both parents to have the same address on their documents. Some schools did not accept AADHAR as an address proof and need bank statements signed from bank branch. One of the schools needed a proof that parents had been living at the current address for more than 6 months
- First/Girl child affidavit – Most of the schools were fine with a common affidavit attested by a Notary. There were some exceptions here e.g. one school had their own format for the affidavit. Another schools needed this signed and attested by a Magistrate or higher authority
The second phase was where the schools calculated the points/score for each applicant and prepared an initial list of potential students and held lotteries. There were variations here too:
- Some schools called the parents to school campus to verify the documents in person (before or after the lottery)
- Scome schools conducted lottery in presence of a limited number of parents (seats offered on first-come basis)
- Some schools conducted the lotteries online with a live stream on YouTube or Zoom
- Some schools didn’t publish any information about the lottery and published the list of selected applicants
The list of shortlisted applicants was to be uploaded by schools latest by a certain date. This being the “latest” date created more confusion as parents had to check several school websites several times a day as some schools declared the results a week before the latest date and expected parents to have the formalities done within a span of 1-2 days.
Several schools didn’t publish anything on the website and expected parents to come over to the School campus to check the list.
There was quite a mad scramble on the actual due date for declaration of results.
As the online admissions applications process is likely to continue next year, here are some tips based on our experience:
- Plan ahead – Make a list of schools in a spreadsheet that you wish to apply at. We prepared our list based on distance from our residence and reputation of the school
- Documents and documents related tips:
- Keep a laptop/desktop ready, most sites and forms are not mobile friendly
- Print your AADHAR (Father, Mother Child), self-attest the copy and scan it. Also keep the size of the scanned document within 300 Kb. A good site for reducing PDF size is ilovepdf.com
- Also keep above document in JPEG format
- Recent passport size photos in multiple sizes 300×300, 200×200, 160×200, 100×80 (to resize pictures simple use basic editor in Windows or Preview in Mac). Some schools will need ridiculously small sizes for photos like less than 10kb
- Birth certificate – printed, self-attested, scanned in pdf and jpeg format
- First/Girl child affidavit – printed, self-attested, scanned in pdf and jpeg format
- Make sure all scanned documents are readable
- Whenever you apply to a school, mark it in the spreadsheet with date and notes. Its best to track progress in a spreadsheet
- Keep your document numbers and address typed in a simple text/doc file so that you can quickly copy-paste on to the forms
- For online payments, keep your payment details ready (not recommended to keep these in a plain text file for security reasons)
- Make it a point to check each schools website for updates daily after submitting the applications. Some schools posted updates that required urgent action for parents and I am sure there were parents who may have missed the updates
- Don’t miss any calls for unknown numbers during this period as sometimes schools will ask for some additional information or document by calling you
Around 40-50% of the school had an excellent online systems which were never slow or buggy and we were able to quickly submit the forms. If more schools improve the IT/Web system by the next year, it will further save a lot of time for the parents.