After having shelled out Rs800 for admission forms, they went back to the school only to be told that there were no vacant seats. Now the disgruntled parents seeking admission for their wards in Junior Kindergarten (Jr KG) in Mahim’s Billabong High International have decided to approach an NGO, the Mahim United Front (MUF) to help them sort out the issue. They have also written to the ICSE board, complaining that the school, in contravention of the state’s rule, is not giving preference to local candidates in admission.
According to the parents, the school refused admission to their children despite their fulfilling both the key criteria: siblings studying in the same school, and staying within walking distance from the school. “We have approached a local NGO, MUF, which has already sent a registered letter to the school asking them to reveal details of vacancies in Jr. Kg. We have also written to the ICSE board director in Delhi.
However, we have not received any response so far,” said Anwar Khan, a parent.
The parents allege that the school sold admission forms costing Rs800 in January without disclosing information about the number of vacant seats in Jr KG. It came as a surprise to parents when they were informed in April that nursery students from Kangaroo Kids (Billabong’s Play Group) were ‘promoted’ to Jr.KG and hence no seats were left vacant.
However, the school insists that there are only 26 seats in Jr KG and they have been filled by its own nursery students. “Our nursery students are promoted to Jr KG directly and in a few cases, vacancies arise when parents inform school of possible withdrawals. The maximum capacity of the class is only 26,” said Jawahira Jung, franchisee, Billabong High International School, Mahim.
While parents question the need for distributing forms when there are no vacancies, Jung replied that the school doesn’t sell admission forms if there are no vacancies. “For the academic year 2009-2010, there were consolidated vacancies of 106 students across all grades. General application forms (for pre-primary to grades 1-8) were issued as per vacancies available. Therefore, it is untrue to say that application forms were issued when there were no vacancies,” she said.
Parents are also planning to petition the education minister to make the school admit local residents. “It is the government’s order that schools give priority to locals. But this school has refused admission to all our children who stay a stone’s throw away from the school. We will pursue this matter till we get our complaints redressed,” said another parent.