Private schools conduct online admission tests
Many private schools in the city that have not completed the admission process are conducting online assessment tests for students seeking seats in the coming academic year. Parents are crying foul as entrance tests for students go against Section 13 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which states that no school can subject a child or his guardians to any screening procedure during the admission process.
They allege that schools are screening applications not just for higher classes but also nursery, pre-primary and class I.
“The entire process is conducted online,” said a parent.
During the online test for nursery classes, for instance, teachers are asking students to recite rhymes and identify letters. “They are testing the oral and vocabulary skills. We are given a ‘syllabus’ for these tests a week before they are held,” the parent added.
Another parent said her son was admitted to class IV of a CBSE school, but not before he was asked to answer questions by teachers during an online session. “I initially objected to the test, but the school said they could not admit my son until they analysed his learning levels. I had to relent,” she said.
The experience can be harrowing for young children between the ages of three to six years as they have to sit in front of a laptop for anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes to take part in the assessment. “Making the child sit in front of a laptop without getting distracted is a challenge. Although my daughter knows her rhymes, she was unable to recite them during the online screening session,” said the mother of a four-year-old.
Fr. Antony Sebastian of Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights said that parents can complain against school managements that subject their children to online assessment during admissions. “We will ensure that strict action is taken against such schools as it is illegal,” he said.
Schools increase class intake
Many schools that had closed admissions for January are opening up new seats to increase intake. Principals and managements said the decision to increase the number of students in a class was made to recover costs as the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) had told them not to hike fees for the 2020-21 academic year.
Others had put admissions on hold in March after the DPI issued an order stating that collection of fees and admissions should be stopped.
“At such a juncture where schools are struggling to make ends meet and pay salaries to their staff, it is important for us to fill all the seats,” said a teacher in a school affiliated to the CBSE.