Karachi Grammar School admission blues: Do you have what it takes?

Published: March 7, 2014
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Being part of the coveted KGS parent body does not simply mean preparing for a test; it is a conscious move to adapt to a certain lifestyle.

Being part of the coveted KGS parent body does not simply mean preparing for a test; it is a conscious move to adapt to a certain lifestyle. PHOTO: AFP Being part of the coveted KGS parent body does not simply mean preparing for a test; it is a conscious move to adapt to a certain lifestyle. PHOTO: AFP Being part of the coveted KGS parent body does not simply mean preparing for a test; it is a conscious move to adapt to a certain lifestyle.

It is that time of the year again when parents of three-year-olds queue up breathlessly outside the most coveted red building in Pakistan, to get their wards admitted into this 150-odd years old institution thus, ensuring a ‘secure and bright future’ for their beloved offspring.

Some of these little ones have been going to preparatory classes along with their preschools, filling their lives with more alphabets and numbers than any three-year-old should be subjected to. Every parent who saunters into this school is confident that his or her child is ‘the best’ and if Karachi Grammar School (KGS) lets them fall through the admission net they will be beating their proverbial chests in anguish for the rest of their existence.

The child is made to attend an interview, along with the parents, and is then escorted inside for a short assessment session, while the parents wait outside. Whatever happens inside is anybody’s guess and you have to rely on the words of the little ones and that too if they decide to share the experience. But I know from experience that neither the interview nor the assessment comprises of any rocket science, like people tend to believe. It consists of just the basic stuff that any average child of that age attending any preschool worth its salt, knows or should know.

Nobody knows what exactly goes on in those fifteen-odd minutes the child is inside since the auditorium in which the appraisal is conducted is guarded like Fort Knox. As for the interview, the questions asked are also very basic and trust me, they don’t care whether you drove to the school in your latest Audi or a 10-year-old beat-up Suzuki Mehran; whether you are wearing the latest Sania Maskatiya or a generic lawn shalwar kameez; whether there are multiple diamonds flashing on your fingers or you are wearing an imitation ring.

In my opinion, what is important to them is how well-disciplined and smart your child is, how involved you are as parents and what kind of values you hold. And trust me, no matter how much you attempt to lie through your teeth about the time you spend with your child and how disciplined he or she is, the truth shows in your body language.

No amount of holding hands, gushing with love for your child and spouse, and buttering up the head mistress can help your case if it is just a farce.

My suggestion to all those aspiring to be KGS parents is to be yourself and avoid rubbing off your tension on your children by asking them to be someone they are not. The more anxious you will be, the more agitated they will become.

And that will not help the admission process at all.

Being part of the coveted KGS parent body does not simply mean preparing for a test; it is a conscious move to adapt to a certain lifestyle. If I have to say one thing about the parent body, it would be that they are extremely involved in their children’s school life – not only at the day-to-day homework level but also in being a part of everything that happens at school from the reading sessions to the bake sales, from the field trips to the sing songs, from the plays to the after-school clubs, from the sports activities to the Parent Teacher Meetings (PTM).

These parents turn up in droves to donate blood at the annual blood camp and are ready to come out of their homes to protest against the illegal construction of a building next to the school.

So, before coaching your child for the KGS admission test, ask yourself first,

“Do we have the ‘G-factor’?”

Sarah Allawala

Sarah Allawala

A dietitian by education, a writer and an entrepreneur by choice. She tweets as @AllawalaSarah (twitter.com/AllawalaSarah)

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