Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learning the A,B,C of Schooling

A few years ago, on a balmy evening in New Delhi, my roommate hit me with a strange question. When I have a child which school would she go to? At that moment, the query seemed so hypothetical, silly even. But in hindsight, maybe not so much. I was a reporter covering education at a private news channel and since it was admission season, an annual phase when parents of the city go berserk and all hell breaks loose, it seemed like just the right time for the query to pop up.

So would it be a high end private school, a CBSE school, an ICSE school, an IB school or a boarding school? The choices were endless and I found myself thinking about this way into the night. For her it was simple. She had graduated from Mayo College, Ajmer and had already booked a place for her future child! Boarding schools allowed that, she said, almost smugly.

Finding a good school, is easier said than done. There are so many factors to consider. Syllabus was always the the easiest factor. But times have changed since then. In India, choosing a school can be a nightmare. Many schools have interviews, not just for the children but parents too. Ask any parent in Delhi about their experience of admitting their little one into nursery school and you have on your hands an anguished parent with a horrifying tale. The right age, the correct questions for the interview, the recommendation letters, the point system, the factors go on and on.

I live (for the moment) in suburban America, looking for a place downtown, in the middle of some bustling action, far away from good school districts, simply because my husband and I, do not need to look at school ratings. For scores of my friends here with little children, the choice was a no-brainer. Pick the best school district and find a house nearby. Inevitably they all live in a big house, with a garden, far away from city noise, in the best public school district in the city.

And how can we forget parents with foresight? Those admitting their child into a school that has an engineering college attached, so that the transition many years later from school to college can be simple. Or those that choose schools with a professional college in the same campus, so there would be a certain quota of seats available for students from the same institution. Or what about the Romeikes (http://tinyurl.com/y8ltqqk) who moved countries, from Germany to USA just so they could legally homeschool their children. They are not alone. A recent article, pointed out that this could even be a rising trend.

Was it this difficult when we were in school? Do you think our parents really considered so many factors before admitting us into our school? Did our parents really have to make so many decisions. That is one question I ask my mother on our next call. Hopefully, it is a phase and it will pass.

(Rati Ramadas has worked as a reporter with NDTV for almost 4 years and covered education for the greater part of that. But for the past 2 yeas she has been travelling around Germany and has recently moved to Houston, USA. She loves writing short stories, so that would make her a struggling writer, hoping to publish some someday. She blogs and rants about day to day life and travels at Odds and Mi and tweets @oddsandmi)

Image Source : clevercupcakes

blog comments powered by Disqus