One of the most problematic tasks for the parents these days is getting their children admitted to a good school . Today we are all aware of the fact that getting admission in a good school is not an easy job as even at a very small age a child is expected to know certain things and have certain traits. .
The word ‘admission’ appears nightmarish . In our cities there seems to be no dearth of schools but with the population explosion in the urban areas the number of school going children is increasing every year . Limited number of seats in school and unlimited number of candidates has made entry into a school of one’s choice all the more difficult.
Parents usually try their best to trace out some way or the other to avoid this uncertainty . For those coming from economically affluent families, this problem to a great extent has been eased because they are able to secure a seat in a school of their choice by offering donations in cash or kind.
Admission at nursery level is generally based on an oral test of the child and interview or the parents . The main objective of the oral test is to observe the child to see what all qualities, good or bad, the child has; whether the child is active and really interested in studies: whether the child has got the capabilities to understand what the other person says and if so, how much receptive the child is; whether his/her power of reception is enough for a nursery class student or not. In other words we can say whether the child is alert to all the things happening to him and around him.
Nearly all reputed public schools generally interview the child’s parents also . The basic object of this interview is to enable the school authorities to know about the family background of the child . Moreover, the authorities also want to know far the parents will be able to guide and help their child in his/her studies. More or less, it is only a casual talk between the parents and the school authorities. The criteria of parents’ interview does not form the basis of admission , although it carries certain weight in majority of the schools. There are however certain schools which do not attach much weight to the parents qualification as they feel that the children should not suffer if the parents are not educated.
Admission is generally made on the basis of a written test and interview . The written test is generally taken in the main subjects –English, Hindi, Maths, and in the higher classes i.e. VIth onwards Science is also included . The question paper is set from the syllabus of the previous class . Apart from this academic test a few school also go in for aptitude test which consist of questions related to general awareness and mental ability.
Most of the schools give preference to the students staying within a certain radius of the school.
A large number of us who clamour for admission of our children to same ‘good’ school do not stop to think what we are we actually looking for. Do we want our wards to come out from the assembly line as an automotive product, chiseled from all sides to fit into the established mould ? There are other enlightened parents who want to educate their children as well as they can, but, would not like to expose them to the evils of existing schools. They may think of educating their progeny at home with the help of tutors of governesses. But, this plan is not workable, as this method of teaching will be missing some important element of education . Therefore, perforce, they have to choose a school for their sons or daughters.
Infants are neither good nor bad by nature. They only possess some reflexes and a few instincts out of which, by the action of the environment, habits are formed which may be healthy or morbid . In the beginning the nature of the child is highly malleable, and intelligence of the mothers, ” Ayahs” and early schooling leave an impact on the nature of the child. . In the large majority of children there is the raw material of a good citizen or that of a criminal . It is not difficult to make a healthy child happy and most children will be healthy if their minds and bodies are properly tended . Happiness in childhood is absolutely necessary if we have to produce the best of human beings .
Research has shown that character is determined by early education . Therefore, an institution which, inter alia, lays stress on character building has to be preferred to the one which produces bookworms . Most of our so called public schools, fashioned on the old time British Public Schools, provide an aristocratic education training men for power and authority . The product of these schools are supposed to be energetic, stoical, physically fit, having some unalterable beliefs without realising that intellect, sympathy, imagination, creativity are being sacrificed. These schools have produced very few poets, artists, serious researchers, literary figures, writers or men of great intellect . But, we must realise that aristocracy is out of date. We must develop in our children intellectual suppleness, more imaginative sympathy and universalism rather than narrow parochialism.
Children instinctively see through the actions of teachers and institutions . Character and intelligence will not develop fully where teacher does not love his pupil . In addition, the educator should understand the meaning of excellence in human affairs and human excellence.
Children should be encouraged to speak their minds without fear. They should be helped to express their opinion without being ridiculed. They should be trained to develop the courage of conviction and stick to their principles without worrying about the consequences. An atmosphere is to be created in the school where children pick up physical courage as well as courage of the mind.
Our children should imbibe the spirit of living for their own purpose and not for the purpose which is caused by external authority. This type of will power leading to courage in life can be cultivated by schools and will result in strong character of children .If the children are not trained in the qualities of the heart, life would become too mechanical.
Aesthetic sensibility is also important . Children must be trained to observe and feel. They would be better citizens if they appreciate beauty in nature : the rising and setting of the sun, the rainbow, the myriad colours of flowers, their intricate designs, the beautifully made spider’s web or the beehive are all nature’s bounty to us and worth appreciating. They are meant to be enjoyed . Children who grow up in this type of atmosphere will be in a better position to preserve the environment.
An education producing sensitiveness to such stimuli would bring in some harmony in this strife-torn world.
All that is written above will come to a naught if children, future citizens of the world, were not self-disciplined. They should be made conscious of the desirability of subordinating their selfish interest to the greater good of society . This inner discipline has to be cultivated in the formative years of the child and is to be brought about by force or by punishment but mainly by counseling and reasoning . It is to be the discipline of the traffic light and not that of the traffic constable . This type of discipline does not mean passivity . It only makes children instinctively aware what jumping of the red light would entail.
It is impossible to find a school which will impart all these qualities of character to children in full measure . But then this is merely an ideal, and ideals, like the stars enable us to chart the course of our lives. . Parents should select a school, which instills the maximum number of these characteristics to the greatest degree possible , remembering that a great institution is that which inspires children and broadens their outlook on life.