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25 June 2024

Bizarre questions Indian schools ask students for KG admissions

By Sneha May Francis

“What’s the colour of your teeth? There’s a drink you have in the morning that has the same colour. What is it?”

“How do you eat a banana? What do you do with the peel?”

“Are those tiny leaves that you see on the tomato edible?”

These are just some of the questions that will apparently determine whether your toddler will make it to school.

Yes, that’s right.

Kindergarten interviews are turning out to be more aggressive than they really should.

Parents are unsure how to tackle the interview, which will eventually determine whether their three- and four-year-olds will go to a good school.

“It’s more stressful than our job interviews,” insists Rachel, an Indian parent who recently got her son admitted to a highly reputed Indian school.

“I was shocked by the questions they were asking my son. After the barrage of questions, they gave him a toffee and asked him what he would do with the wrapper. I can’t understand the purpose of such questions. What are they hoping to test?”

Rachel says that she was, in fact, not allowed to talk to her son during the entire interview process. “They kept asking him so many questions and didn’t let me even look in his direction.”

Another child, who was interviewed before Rachel’s son, was apparently taken into the garden, and when he returned, he was asked to list out what he had seen.

“How do they expect a three-year-old to understand what’s going on?”

Many parents can’t quite comprehend the real purpose of a kindergarten interview.

“I can understand that they want to check if a child is aware of certain basic stuff and is generally social, but trying to confuse them isn’t going to achieve anything,” points out Sheetal, whose daughter cracked the KG interview for an Indian school.

“Many kids are shy around strangers so how can they expect them to open up within minutes of meeting them?”

One parent narrates about how her child was quizzed on which car she came in and what colour it was. “My daughter is aware of these things because she likes cars but expecting her to give the right answer is asking for too much,” said Keerthana.

The situation isn’t limited to Indian schools. Even British and other curriculum schools have an interview system in place, but many argue that those are well within ‘acceptable’ limits.

“It isn’t tough. They just give them simple puzzles that test whether they know shapes and colours,” said a mother whose three-year-old will be starting FY1 in an IB curriculum school in September this year.

“I just found the whole exercise a little too long drawn out though. In 15 minutes, the teacher asked so many questions. I was lucky that my son was in a good mood, or else he wouldn’t have spoken at all.”

Considering it is so difficult to get an interview call, with most school’s KG seats filling out with siblings or even the lottery system, it is tough for children to crack the only interview they might get to attend.

“As parents we were stressed, but we didn’t want to stress out our daughter. So, we didn’t prep her or anything. Just took her along and she did just fine,” adds Keerthana.

Most schools insist that their system is to check whether a child is sociable and can understand instructions.

“We want to see if the child can follow us. Some kids don’t talk but we call them again for a second round,” a teacher in a British school said.

However, most schools that Emirates 24|7 approached refused to comment on their interview guidelines. “I can’t comment on it,” said the admission officer at a top Indian school.

Interestingly, there are no official guidelines for such KG interviews.

“I just hope the authorities would look into this and put a system in place. It will give direction not only to the schools but also to the parents,” suggests a parent.



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