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Preparing for Primary School Interviews

The parents in the admissions process:

  • Parents fill out lengthy forms and sometimes even write short essays that help schools understand the child’s family background.
  • Schools also want to understand the parent’s vision and philosophy with respect to educating the child, and their “parenting style”. For example, how the parent handles difficult situations with the child and how he spends time with the child.

The Indian Parliament passed the “Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act” or as it is better known, “the Right to Education Act” (rte ) in 2009. One of the issues addressed is that of school interviews: the Act orders that for admission, there should be no interview of the parent or child, and to ensure enrollment for all.

But is this ruling applicable to private schools? When the Act was passed, private schools protested, claiming that it violated their right to run without government interference. The Act was accordingly revised, and now is not applicable to unaided, private schools. And so the interview process continues, with many private schools disguising interviews as ‘interaction sessions’.

A majority of schools follow the process described above. Remember that these interaction sessions allow the school to ensure that your child is ready for school – that he does not have any learning disabilities or behavioural issues which require special attention. They don’t expect knowledge of rocket science!

It is natural for a parent to be anxious about this interview process and try out a range of methods to get children ready for these. But first, do your research on the schools that you will apply to – what the admissions criteria are, whether they conduct such interviews, and if yes, what is expected in these interviews. This information can be easily obtained by asking parents of children who are already  studying in the school and have been through the process. It is best to do so well in advance of when your child will enter primary school; perhaps when he is in playschool, so that you can consider gearing his education a little towards admissions.

The preschool’s role in interview preparation

Playschools realise how important this interview is to the parent and child, and often, the last six months of preschoolwill be given over to preparing the child for this interview. Nandini Rao, Principal of First Steps Nursery in Bangalore explains that interview preparation is a priority at the school, and preparation sessions are conducted with children appearing for the interview, even as they participate in routine school activ


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