School tours for parents
Several city schools now take parents on a tour of their campus so they can make an “informed decision” before admitting their child.
The schools believe it is a step towards building faith by letting parents see if the physical infrastructure of the institution match the claims on their websites.
The Heritage School, South City International School, Sri Sri Academy and The Newtown School are some of the institutions where parents can register for a tour of the campus.
While visiting the school, parents often want to see if CCTV cameras are installed on the premises. They also want to visit washrooms and interact with the teaching and non-teaching staff.
The schools feel there is no point having an “iron curtain” any longer because the era is gone when they “couldn’t be questioned”.
“If we are diffident in showing them our campus, there will be an angry reaction if something goes wrong. They want to see our infrastructure and we have nothing that we don’t want to show. Besides, we have to maintain our standards and feedback is welcome. Our staff is aware that there can be a visit any time,” said Suvina Shunglu, principal of Sri Sri Academy.
At Sri Sri Academy, parents who have applied for their child’s admission are taken around the campus if they ask to see it.
On orientation day, however, all parents go to their children’s classroom and meet the class teacher.
At Newtown School, the tours are conducted on scheduled days after school hours, irrespective of whether the parents are applying for their child to be admitted or not.
Parents have to fill in a form to tour the campus and the school then emails them the date and time.
“We give parents the option of seeing the school at the time we announce dates for accepting applications. All parents do not come. There are some who take the tour but don’t come back, and there are others who don’t take a tour but have decided on the school and apply,” said Seema Sapru, principal of The Heritage School.
At South City International School, however, the option is generally given to parents of those children who have been short-listed, when they come for the admission interview.
“Parents feel comfortable if they know the place where they are sending their children and we try to think from their perspective,” said John Bagul, the principal of South City.
Many of the old city schools — some of them over hundred years old — do not allow parents to inspect their infrastructure because they feel it could interfere with or disturb academic activities.
Officials of one such school said parents could take the virtual tour on their websites.
“The student can give the best testimony to the parents. Parents also decide to get their children admitted here because of our history and the products of the institution,” said the principal of an old school.
A school tour on the website is not enough for many new-age parents, according to some institutes.
“They should know and believe that the school is exactly what we have described on the website. It’s a platform for them to have their first impression of the institution,” said Satabdi Bhattacharjee, the principal of Newtown School.