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Fewer seats at La Martiniere

The admission process at La Martiniere from next year would be directly under the supervision of the principals
Probal Kanto Dutta, Bishop of the Calcutta diocese of the Church of North India.

Jhinuk Mazumdar And Mita Mukherjee   |   Calcutta   |   Published 29.10.18, 09:01 PM

The La Martiniere schools are looking to reduce their intake of students at the entry level and make classrooms more inclusive as part of a promised policy revision focused on bringing “transparency” to the admission process.

“We have to discuss this with the principals and have students in a class exactly in accordance with the norm…. Ideally, there should not be more than 45 in each classroom,” said Probal Kanto Dutta, the bishop of the Calcutta diocese of the Church of North India that runs the two schools.

There have been allegations about classrooms at the La Martiniere schools getting more crowded as a result of increased Lower Nursery intake almost every year. “We need to bring that down,” a church official said.

The strategy includes increasing the number of sections to normalise classroom strength and reduce entry-level admissions.

The girls’ school will have a new building with additional classrooms to accommodate the “excess students”. Construction is scheduled to start in 2019. Discussions are underway to find a solution for the adjoining boys’ school, the bishop said.

Both schools also intend to have students from all communities and sections of society. “The classroom should be a microcosm of the society in terms of representation of different communities,” a church official said.

The bishop had announced last week that the admission process at La Martiniere from next year would be directly under the supervision of the principals. “This is part of the new policy that the church has drawn up to make the admission process more transparent. There has been a lot of talk in the past few years about irregularities in how students get into our schools,” he said.

The secretary of the La Martiniere schools, Supriyo Dhar, resigned from the post last Thursday after 10 years in charge. The board of governors is to meet at the end of this week to pick a new secretary.

According to church officials, the proposed admission system is geared towards understanding “the needs of a child” coming into Lower Nursery. There will be a counsellor’s note for every child to help the teachers understand and deal with individual requirements.

The note will contain pointers like social development and psychological agility so that teachers immediately gain an insight into each student’s needs and capabilities. “The counsellor’s note will be shared with the teaching staff. For instance, if a child’s speech is unclear, a teacher will work on that.”

But a church official clarified that the counsellor’s note would not be the elimination criteria. “Candidates applying for admission will be called for an interaction, as has been the practice. We look forward to a good, transparent admission procedure. As a responsible institution with a legacy, we continue to hold the dignity of the school and the name that it bears,” the official said.

The admission committee constituted on October 12 is to meet soon to flesh out a set of guidelines that the two La Martiniere schools would need to follow.


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