School Saga

As soon as my daughter turned a year old, I had well meaning relatives asking me if I had decided on a school for her. I did not take this very seriously, surely, you don’t get a one year old admitted to school I thought. However, more and more people joined in the chorus and I could no longer turn a deaf ear.
Let’s at least find out the age criteria to get admission into schools I thought so that I could silence all these ignorant people forever. However, I soon realized that I was the most ignorant of them all, for 1.5 years turned out to be the age you could actually get a child admitted to a playschool. It was like a bolt from the blue!!  As far as I knew, school started at JKG when the child turned 3. Little did I know that nowadays there is playschool and nursery to which kids are sent to even before their formal education begins!! This was a whole new revelation to me!
So read on about my journey towards enlightenment as I got myself educated about the current education system in India.

Playschool  or not?
Not to miss out on the race, I soon started researching playschools and even visited a few.  The teachers and staff assured me that in playschool there is no reading/writing, they just teach children basic stuff like shapes, colors etc. When I hesitantly expressed my concern about getting my kid admitted to school at such a tender age and inquired whether she can skip playschool, she was aghast!! She will miss out on the “playschool syllabus” she said!! Playschool syllabus?? Excuse me, you just told me you don’t teach kids anything in playschool, so from where does the syllabus part come in?

Nursery or Playschool?
Despite all the protests from everyone, we decided 1.5 years is too young for our daughter to go to school, this is the age for free play. So we decided to get her admitted to nursery when she turns 2.5. But my tribulations were far from over for now we were faced with another choice. Nursery in a small school to get her prepped up for JKG in a big school or nursery attached to a big school itself so there is no change of school in JKG.  If I went with the first option, that would mean a lengthy selection process for getting admission in JKG, while if I went with the 2nd option, it meant directly getting my child admitted in a big school without having being prepped up for it in a smaller school. Sigh!! What do I do?

Which board?
Nevertheless, I decided to find out good schools in the area. When I posed the question to friends in the neighborhood  their answers stumped me!  While one friend suggested “abc” school, since it’s a CBSE school and CBSE board is very up to date, another said “xyz” school is good because it’s an SSC board school, so very easy for kids to study. But the best response I got was, “SSC has 1 book for every subject, CBSE has 2 whereas ICSE has 3, so obviously ICSE is the best”!!  Does having more books mean a better education system?  I had known only SSC board, since that is the board I studied in. Nowadays there is SSC/CBSE/ICSE/IGSE/IB and on and on. Whoa, and I thought choosing a school would be easy!

My verdict
It was while I was going through this unrelenting pursuit that something else dawned upon me. I studied in an SSC board school, in a small town in Goa.  Today I am a software professional in a good company earning a good salary. Above all, I think I am a good human being. And what is it that shaped me up? While I am thankful to my school and teachers for instilling good values in me, I will not deny the fact that my career is shaped a great deal because of my hard work. So will a posh school or a much hyped about educational board assure that my daughter has a great career? Not necessarily. What really matters is the determination and the inclination to do well.  Eureka!! That was it.
So while I am not really any closer in deciding which school to send my daughter to, I now at least know that I do not want her to go to a school that bogs her down with a lot of undue pressure in a bid to make her “competitive”.  I will not send her to a school simply to show off my socio-economic status. Rather, I want her to have a good balance between studies and fun, a place where she will look forward to go to every morning, a school with teachers who motivate her to perform rather than turn her into a bookworm.  Will I find my dream school? Keeping my fingers crossed.
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