Pune: While the admissions for classes of nursery and kindergarten in the city schools have begun, amidst looking for the best schools and preparing for the ‘crucial’ interviews, the parents in the city have met with a new dilemma.
Some of the parents have pointed out that a few of the schools have a condition that the mother of the child must be a housewife. While the activists state that any such conditions should not be enforced on parents, the school associations have alleged that these are mere rumours and an attempt to defame the schools. “My wife is a homemaker, but still while I was going through schools for my son’s admission, I was enraged at this condition,” said a parent residing on Sinhagad Road on condition of anonymity.
"On one hand, the fees of the schools are so high and on the other hand, they want one of the parents to be staying home full-time and not working. How is it reasonable?” asked the parent.
Another parent from Pimpri-Chinchwad said she could no longer continue to work despite wanting to as her daughter’s school demanded that the mother should be a stay-at-home parent.
While the schools have been ordered not to give homework to the younger kids, the necessity of the mother being a housewife again points to the parents’ complaint that the schools try to find opportunities to shrug off their teaching responsibility and push the load on to the parents.
Reacting to the issue, Mukund Kirdat, RTE (Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education) activist said it is unreasonable for schools to place any condition on parents to deny admissions apart from the one on the distance between the school and the residence.
“There are no stated rules for admissions to nursery or KG due to the debate about which department does the pre-primary section belong to, the school education or women and children development department. Due to this, schools are making this demand that the mother has to be a housewife. It is illegal and illogical. In the nuclear family structure of today, it needs to be understood that many children come from households where both parents are working. At the same time, there are no grandparents too to take care of these children. If there is an attempt to bring about such a rule, it is very regressive,” Kirdat said.
Rajendra Singh of the Independent English Schools Association (IESA), however, dismissed the claims as rumours or foul play. “Schools survive because the working parents pay their fees. Why would we stop them from doing that? I believe that some individuals always want to make headlines by accusing the schools and this too is nothing but an attempt to defame the schools.”
While activists have pointed out the futility of interviewing the parents before giving admissions to the children, schools believe this is necessary to see whether the child would be comfortable in both the school and home environments, if they happen to be too contrasting.