Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A school for Hooty

We are so relieved that H1 has been accepted to the school that we were hoping for. It's absolutely crazy the way we have to go about ensuring a good school for the kids.

There is no way that we can hope to put H1 into a so called 'popular' government school because of the distance issue. I went through the form just the other day and how they allocate marks for a child. They reduce 5 marks for every school that is in between the school of your choice and your place of residence. Because we are in the outskirts of Colombo, H1 will end up getting minus marks!

We are lucky that we are fortunate enough to be able to send her to a private school. But it makes me sad about the lack of choice for most people and the disparity.

The whole process of this school business was hilarious actually, but I can only see the funny side of it after H1 got through. Many agonizing weeks were spent before we got the letter of acceptance.

You first need to pay and get the application form. And believe me, our poor cousin had to stay in line for 2 hours (as we were in Singapore then) just to get the form.

Then if you are lucky, you get a letter informing you that you and your child has been called for an interview. Yep...they even interview the kid!

Our time was given as 11.00 a.m. So there we were taking our time getting ready when one of my friends who had gone through the whole process before, gave me a call around 8.00 am.
"What are you still doing home?" she asked.
"It's only at 11" I say.
"Are you crazy. You better go now. Even though it says 11, the earlier you go, the better for you. They issue a number when you go and you will be taken in according to the number and not the time given."
"OMG!" I said now in total panic mode, "We have to get dressed and go NOW!" I called out to bewildered hubster.
"Does H1 know what you and Hubby do?" my friend asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"They ask the kid what the parents do to make sure what you put down as your jobs in the form are true"
"OMG!" I say hyperventilating, "I don't think she knows!"
"Does she know where you live? They ask that too and even though it says just bring the letter and birth certificate make sure you take all your educational certificates, letters of employment and what ever you think is necessary because they might want to see them." said my friend.
"OMG, I gotta go. There's so much to do" I said, running around like a headless chicken.

So, while getting H1 ready I asked her, "What is Thaaththi's job darling. What does he do?"
"He does EVERYTHING!" she said.
"Hmmmm...what does Ammi do?"
"She cooks!"
"OMG Hubby, she doesn't know what we do!" I scream. Tell her quick! What shall we say?
Oh dear...oh dear" squealed the headless chicken.

"Where do we live Sweety," I asked in the car.
"Matara!" said H1.
"That's where Aththamma lives love" I said trying not to throw up.

After prepping her, we finally arrived at the school and the heavens parted. Yep...and we had no umbrella! So Hubby dropped us at the gate and holding the hundreds of files above our heads we made it in where we were body heard me a security guard before we were given a queue number. 288 it was and the time was barely 9.30 a.m.!

I looked around the tense atmosphere and every single woman there was wearing a sari...good enough for a wedding, and there I was in pants and a blouse. "OMG, they will reduce marks for not wearing a sari...what do we do? WHAT DO WE DO??" I asked hubby. "It's OK. you have an excuse. It's obvious you can't wear a sari. Don't worry." my calm husband assured me. I was 7 months preggy you see.

All the kids were dolled up. All were in pretty little pink dresses, hair in ribbons and clips. I saw little kids being brought in by them selves without the parents after their number was called. So I quickly told H1, "See, those little girls go all by them selves with the big akki's. Ammi and Thaaththi won't come with you OK darling? Don't worry OK. It looks like fun! Wow! I wonder what they did. I think they had fun in there," while keeping my fingers crossed!

By the way, while waiting for our number to be called, I went to the toilet three times to pee (which was next to the interview room)..yep THREE. I have no idea what everyone thought of me! Well there was a bubba using my bladder for a comfy seat!

When our number was called, we went in and H1 was suddenly grabbed by an older girl and taken away. I was too stunned and so was Hubby. There was no time for a good bye even. I am so glad I prepared her. Apparently if the child cried at this point, she is crossed off then and there!

Hubs and I were asked a few abrupt questions about what we do and what our schools were and that was it! H1 apparently had to go to five teachers who asked her questions (yes, they did ask what does your parents do!) and was asked to identify some colours, animals, find the difference in two pictures and do a memory puzzle. I was really worried about how she would do as she is still not conversant in Sinhala. When I asked her how she did, she said "The teacher asked me questions in Sinhala. I answered in English." I guess she did well as she was accepted. Phew.

Then came the waiting...calls to people I knew who had gone for the interviews..."Did you get a letter yet?"

Finally after 3 weeks we did get it and fortunately for was a yes.


  1. It is absolutely heart breaking to see the struggle parents have to go through when finding a school for their children, as they know it is the first step to ensure their educational success. I still remember my poor little village school and the struggle I had to go through in my higher studies. Here in Canada, there is no difference between schools and I think it is a punishable offense, if you do not send your children to school. Oh, by the way every community has a school and a library mostly in the walking distance. Some times I wonder why these are called Capitalist countries.


  2. Whoa! that must have been so tough for you all. =D

    Glad Nethmi did well and you all got prepared within such a short time and got through.. *hehe.. it sounds like passing the A/L exam!* lol

    Big Congrats! and Best of luck to lil Nethmi too! ^__^

    I've heard of this process from my cousins so knew about it a bit. It must be really tough for the lil ones ne.. cuz not all kids are brave enough to face interviews with big people at such a small age. Plus I hear the govt. schools have more rigorous interviews and they even pay home visits too, to verify the addresses and all. =D

  3. Thanks LD.

    Lazy Owl- yeah..the whole system is crazy. Parents lie left and right to show that they live near a good school and even go to the extend of teaching the kids to lie too. Sad situ because there is such a difference in the popular schools and other schools.

    Thanks Harumi. We are relieved. But I think they have changed the policy of interviewing the kid in government schools this year. But yes, they do check if you really live in the place you claim to do if they suspect you are lying.

    Kulendra, I can't disclose that, ;o)but this is the process in most schools. We did go to another such interview at another school before and it was similar.

  4. Congrats... was laughing at certain bits in the post..

  5. Really? That's good to hear. ^__^

  6. Hi, So good to hear your little one's schooling is resolved. I fully understand how stressful it can be. My little one starts school next year, but I am already a wreck fretting over it. I would love to share my blog with you, h/ever, its very private and for invitee's only. Could you give me your email address so I could send you an invitation ? bye for now.

  7. Momm my email is listed under my profile. Tx

  8. wow. time's sure have changed haven't they. i went for one of those interviews too, but it was much simpler, and it wasn't even that long ago. think i was taken in with my parents. can't remember what they asked me, probably to identify colours or something. think they just wanted to have a look at us.

  9. Tx PP for the tip ;o)...yep now they not only want to look at you but they check the parent's qualifications, job, background and how smart the kids is...

  10. Oh my God, what a nerve-wracking process!!! I'm glad she got in, not that I'm surprised. Nethmi is such an intelligent girl with so much personality; how could they not want her?

    (And yes, in Canada you legally must attend school until you are 16. People complain about the public schools sometimes but really have no clue how fortunate we are in that regard.)