Fingers crossed

Parents live on their nerves as schools go to lottery for admission

December is the cruellest month for many a parent. It takes away their peace and serenity, as they shuttle between schools to get their children admitted.

They wait for hours at school gates in shivering cold, spend their savings and do whatever is possible just to see their kids through to a school of repute.

But no matter how hard they try, none can be certain of success. It all depends on luck. Their anxiety deepens, as admission process in schools begins in this month.

And a lot of hurdles await the parents, who want their preschoolers to get admitted to grade-I. They have to assess schools first, collect admission forms, get their children prepared for interview, and then leave it all to luck.

“Only God knows what will happen. It solely depends on luck,” said Monwara Begum from Shewrapara, who wishes to have her six-year-old son admitted to class-I at a renowned school.

Like her, thousands of parents in the capital lose sleep over their children’s school admission.

All private and public schools in the capital have already completed interviewing students to measure their basic knowledge and verify their age.

Though some private schools have already started holding lottery — a mandatory system for selecting preschoolers for class-I in all schools — most of the sought-after schools will hold lottery within a few days.

State-run schools across the country will hold lottery on December 27. However, admission to other classes, except for class-IX, would be done through tests like in previous years.

As the time for school admission nears, Monwara is getting more and more tensed.

She ran from one school to another in the neighbourhood, talked to the parents of the children studying in the schools, bought admission forms from four schools and then had her son, nursery student of a kindergarten, interviewed.

But before Monwara could pick a school, she had to consider many things — track record of schools, quality of education and teachers, expenses and also distance.

Now all she can do is wait.

“I am just keeping my fingers crossed. My worries will not go away until he is admitted to a good school,” she said.

As a parent, Abdus Sobhan is no less anxious than Monwara. His son just finished his final class-II exams at Baby Care Kindergarten on Tajmahal Road in Mohammadpur.

Sobhan did not let his son enjoy any free time, as he wishes to get his son admitted in class-III in a good government school, preferably Mohammadpur Government Boys High School.

“I have no alternative but to send my son to a coaching centre. Tell me how many children want to study after their final exams,” he said.

Sobhan said he had to turn down his son’s request for visiting his grandfather’s house.

But he was still unsure whether his son can make it to a prestigious school. “It’s intense competition,” he said.

The reasons for such worries are not just because enough schools are not there in the capital but also because only a handful of schools maintain a certain standard of education. These good schools are coveted by parents all over the capital.

Parents are desperate to get their children in good schools for a better future.

In Dhaka, there are 24 government high schools that have 7,988 seats. Of the 24 schools, 13 offer education for class-I, accommodating around 1,475 beginners.

This year, as many as 19 beginners will try their luck for a single seat in the public schools under the lottery system. A total of 28,124 forms have been selected for lottery against 1,475 seats.

Though there are numerous private schools in the capital, only a few of them are believed to be good schools. The government does not have any specific data about the number of seats in these schools.

The government schools attract a large number of applicants as they are cheaper and provide better education compared to the private schools.

Parents highly appreciated the lottery system that freed a preschooler from the torment of taking admission tests.

The competition in other classes in the state-run schools is also high, as a total of 73,925 forms had been sold against 7,988 seats in 24 public schools in the capital. It means nine students will compete for one seat.

The picture is all the same in reputable private schools such as Viqarunnisa Noon School, Ideal School and College, Motijheel, Holy Cross Girls’ High School. These schools will hold lottery according to their own schedules.

The stiff competition will be a one-time experience for some, while others will have another year to try their luck, as the number of seats remains almost unchanged.

Source: The Daily Star

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