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Nursery admissions: Harried parents find a helpline and a forum [IN]

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Express India
Jha, Preeti
Publication Date: 
3 Mar 2008

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What started as a blog to vent discontent with regards to nursery admissions in Delhi has created another offshoot &emdash; a helpline.

"It is to boost the morale of parents and provide tips," says Spyder, founder of the blog, Nursery Admissions, who is also the brain behind Gyan Helpline. Spyder found a seat for his three-year-old son at Indian School last week.

Dissatisfied with the Education department's grievance cells, parents have lapped up the private helpline.

Initiated only four days ago, Gyan has already received 18 e-mails. More than counselling, it's the promise of advice to help find a seat that is drawing people towards it. Of the 14 cases Spyder has handled so far, three have been successful, with the worried parents finding a pre-school seat for their wards.

Unlike exam-time helplines run by CBSE or Snehi, however, Gyan does not give out any phone number. Instead, parents are asked to send e-mail with their details. Spyder, who is working under an alias, says: "I am afraid I would be answering calls all night." After reading the e-mails every evening, he spends an hour between nine and ten o'clock calling up the anxious parents.


"The advice is only for the most desperate parents, who have not found seat anywhere. If I start giving tips to everyone, parents who want their children admitted into another school will misuse it. Already, many parents are blocking seats by registering at several schools simultaneously," he says.

While he won't reveal his tactics, Spyder stresses no bribes or donations are involved in his endeavour.

After much requests, he agrees to share one of his tips. "By the time schools have released the second list, many stop updating children from the waiting list. They just ring parents randomly. And when parents are tied on points it is hard for schools to know whom to call. This is where a proactive method can work," says Spyder. "I tell parents to call or visit schools after every two days, to see if there are any withdrawals, and to leave their contact details &emdash; this way a school may just remember them when they are filling up the final few seats. It gives them an edge over those parents who keep waiting for a school to call."


After the nursery blog and this helpline, Spyder has another item on his agenda. "We need a broader forum," says Spyder. On Sunday, he hosted five other parents at his house, for "the first Delhi Parents' Meet". Other than discussing admission strategies, the meeting saw parents drafting an appeal to those parents who have secured multiple admissions, requesting them to release seats. "It's the best option we have," says Spyder.

Manoj Garg, a parent who attended the meeting, first got in touch with Spyder last week. He applied to 11 schools, with no success, for his three-year-old daughter. "I am going to try out his tips this week, let's see," says Garg. "After attending the meeting, I feel there is a lot of commitment and support among parents."

D K Sinha is another parent who was present at the meeting. "Now that there is a group of us, we will surely find a solution together," he says.


- reprinted from Express India