Many hesitant to enroll kids in schools: Associations

Many hesitant to enroll kids in schools: Associations

In the wake of concerns about the fourth wave of Covid-19, schools across the city fear admissions will be affected as many parents would prefer to wait and watch how the pandemic unfolds in the coming months instead of rushing to pay fees now.

Several parents, especially of children in lower grades, are reluctant to seek admission as discussions about severity of the fourth wave intensify. However, minister for primary and secondary education BC Nagesh said schools will reopen on May 16 as per the schedule.

The government conducted a meeting on Monday and brought back the compulsory face mask rule. The Centre is expected to hold a meeting with states on Wednesday on tacking Covid.

According to the chairperson of Karnataka Council of Pre-Schools (KCPS) Pruthvi Banwasi, parents have again started deferring admissions till May-end. “There are enquiries coming in. But they are not getting converted into admissions. Parents do not want to pay fees as they fear classes might not happen again. So they tell the schools that they will get back and enrol later,” he pointed out.

“The ‘seat-sigalla’ phenomenon is also not there as many schools have a large number of vacant seats. So parents are ready to wait and watch,” Banwasi added.

According to Association of Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka, the dip in interest has been palpable for the past 15 days, ever since the news of cases increasing in China and other parts of the world started appearing.

“Parents are hesitanting to buy books and uniforms. This is true for lower grades in state board schools and a few CBSE and ICSE schools. Parents are trying to save money as they fear there might be school closure. But they don’t realise they are compromising on their children’s education and future,” said D Shashi Kumar, secretary of the association. However, admissions and academic activities are unaffected in schools which charge high fees, he added.

Lokesh T, president of Recognised Unaided Private Schools Association, agreed to the trend. “The fall in admissions was most drastic after the meeting of officials on Monday. While my schools used to see around 60-70 admission renewals and fresh admissions, it has suddenly dropped. People who had come to schools for admissions returned saying they will come back later. Even though the education minister made it clear that schools will not be shut, people are not listening. The issue has got
hyped very fast,” he said.

However, the education department has made it clear that schools will resume according to schedule. “We will follow all government guidelines. Just like in the past, we will ensure children’s education is not disrupted because of Covid-19. They have said the fourth wave will come in June and July. Schools will reopen on May 16 itself as per the academic calendar,” said Nagesh.