School admissions are one of the biggest challenges for any parent in India. The rush to get your child into one of the "good" schools starts when the child reaches 3 years when they become eligible to join Pre-nursery. The general wisdom is that it is your best chance of getting the child into one of the school as vacancies in the later classes is extremely limited.
The entire admission process serves as a good revenue generator for these schools, they issue 5000+ forms at around 500 rupees each and rake in a cool 25 lakhs. The selection criteria and procedures are always a secret, as it allows the school to use its discretion to accommodate the "influential" members of society. If you don't have influence, they you need money and lots of it, schools routinely charge 30-40K as building fund or something similar, and all of it is taken in cash and unaccounted. It's a money spinning business raking in crores which is why so many politicians and bureaucrats have set up schools in the last few years. The fact that you get control of large pieces of land at throwaway prices is just the icing on the cake.
One of the schools that is a refreshing change from this racket are the National Public schools. However, I see a few things that are different about them
- They do not take donations. They are upfront about their fees and provide a receipt for the entire amount
- They do charge a higher fees than most schools, but are open about it and seem to pay their teacher's well above the market wage
- Like other schools, their admission process is opaque. Based on evidence, I could see that they overwhelmingly go for children of professionals and give preference to children of alumni and teachers. A few of my friends with significant influence were unable to get a seat there, so it does seem like who you know seems to matter less than in other schools.
I may seem a little biased towards them and with good reason. Between me and my brothers, we spent almost 30 years at NPS Indiranagar. Nisha is set to join the NPS ranks next year, having got an admission to UKG at their newest school in HSR Layout.