Out at midnight for admission for KG!

Jimmy N spent the night of January 3 in front of The Indian High School. He had to wait in queue to collect an application form for his son’s admission to the school. Remember, his son is just a little over three, and he needs admissions to KG 1.

By (Muaz Shabandri)

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Published: Wed 12 Jan 2011, 12:07 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:41 AM

“I reached the school after midnight but there were already some people waiting outside the school gate. By early morning, over 800 parents had queued up outside the school, hoping to get an application form,” says Jimmy.

Starting this month, parents like Jimmy get in the fray for admissions to reputed Indian schools in the UAE since only a limited number of seats are available for the thousands of children looking to join their first year of school.

“Some people even brought along tea, coffee and biscuits, and they were even distributing them,” adds Jimmy.

Although the school had strictly notified that every parent would be given admission forms, parents continued to queue up outside the school at unearthly hours though distribution would start only at 8am.

A total of 21 Indian schools in Dubai provided admissions to over 5,400 new students during the 2009-2010 academic year, according to statistics provided by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). However, the limited number of seats in the 21 schools are a cause of concern for parents.

With over 2,400 applicants for the 200-odd seats at the Indian High School, it is a draw that decides the fate of the students. All applications are entered into the draw, giving a fair chance of selection to all applicants. Although admissions are not guaranteed, parents are willing to spend time in the hope of getting lucky in the admission draw.

Other schools follow a more straight-forward admission process where applications are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis. But the selection criteria can vary depending on the school.

It’s the same story in Abu Dhabi. The demand for seats in Indian schools outruns supply.

The Private International English School in Abu Dhabi, a newly opened school, started admissions last year, in November, to admit 750 students at its new school in Musaffah as part of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB) school network. The school closed admissions within a month as all slots were filled.

“We provide admissions on a first-come first-serve basis. Even after closing admissions in late November, we still receive an average of 10 to 15 admission related enquiries everyday. Unfortunately we cannot admit these students because of a limit on the class size,” said Ramachandran Menon, Chairman, Middle East BVB.

The school is planning to open a new building in September to meet the increasing demand for admissions.

“Our planned expansion will allow us to take an additional 2,000 students from September and we will have separate admissions for the kindergarten during this time,” added Ramachandran.

According to a study commissioned by the Indian Consulate during the previous academic year to understand the demand-supply gap for kindergarten students, the ratio of number of applicants to the number of seats ranged between 0.83 and 2.99.

However there is often a shortage of seat in certain schools. “As is known, the parent’s choice of a school is governed by various factors including the reputation of the school, perceived strengths and fee structure,” says P Jaideep, Education Consul at the Consulate General of India, Dubai. “The decision to increase the number of seats vests with the individual schools subject to availability of infrastructure and permissions from the local regulators in the UAE and the concerned education board in India,” he added.

No new batch

Our Own English High School (OOEHS), Dubai, one of the largest Indian schools in the UAE is not accepting new KG admissions for the academic year that starts in April 2011. The school which usually admits over a thousand new students every year has closed admissions for KG following a decision by the Ministry of Education to stop the afternoon shift and change into a single-shift system.

“Until this year, we had kindergarten students attending the afternoon shift. But from the new academic year, we cannot continue with the afternoon shift as per the decision by the Ministry of Education. We are not able to accept new KG admissions because the existing kindergarten students from the afternoon shift will move to the single-shift in April 2011,” said Farooq Wasil, Director of Asian Schools, at GEMS Education.

“We have not excluded a single student and have made sure that all our existing students are accommodated. There is no KG 1 this year due to space constraints. All our KG1 classrooms will now be used to accommodate the KG2 students who will move from the afternoon shift for the new academic year,” added Wasil.

“New parents looking to enroll their kids in Kindergarten can still choose from other GEMS schools like Our Own High School Al Warqa, Our Own Indian School and Our Own Community School, Al Warqa, a new GEMS school opening in April this year.–muaz@khaleejtimes.com

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