Effect of the Covid pandemic on nursery admissions in Calcutta
The number of applications for admission to preschools is lower than it was before the Covid pandemic, many school leaders have said.
The impact on applications started last year and the numbers are low this year as well.
Parents might not be willing to invest in a situation where they don’t know when schools will reopen. They opt instead for home tutoring for the child, said the head of a school.
The nursery application process usually begins in July or August and continues until the beginning of the following year.
“The number of applicants is low this year, a trend that started last year,” said Amita Prasad, principal of Indus Valley World School.
Parents think they can tutor a preschooler at home and don’t want to put him in a school paying a variety of fees at a time when no one knows when schools will reopen.
Parents have also learned from the experience of their friends that a virtual classroom means they should hold their kids’ hands every step of the way.
Schools have been closed since March 2020 as a precaution against the Covid. Campuses reopened briefly in February only for grades IX through XII.
Some parents are waiting to see how the Covid situation will develop before deciding whether they will enroll their children in school.
“Some parents may not want to invest in formal education and will want to wait for more clarity on the reopening of schools,” said Krishna Damani, administrator of South Point.
“Parents are making inquiries, but we don’t know if they will be coming to register their children,” said Sister Rani Jacob, principal of Our Lady Queen of the Missions School, Park Circus.
Schools also change the allocation of places depending on the situation.
The Assembly of God Church, Park Street, authorities will make a decision based on enrollment numbers.
“We noticed a change in the current session. There are more applicants for kindergarten than for nursery. At age 3 and over, parents continued at home or in kindergarten, ”said Lionel Chellappa, principal of Park Street school.
The financial hardship inflicted by the pandemic had an impact on admission. “Let’s face it, the pandemic has had an impact on the financial situation of families … They would rather tutor children at home than pay school fees,” said a school principal.
At South Point School, the number of requests for child care has dropped by 10%.
At the Indus Valley World School, applications have “poured in”.
A reputable municipal school, which asked not to be named, received around 550 applications for 200 kindergarten places this year. Before the pandemic, it would receive around 800 applications.
Park Circus’ Our Lady Queen of the Missions School received around 25% fewer applications last year compared to pre-pandemic times. He has not yet solicited nominations for this year.
The decline in school enrollment at Assembly of God Church, compared to pre-pandemic years, prompted authorities to reduce the number of nursery sections by one.