Bishop's School SMS sends parents into tizzy

Around 590 parents who had applied for their children’s admission in Lower Kinder Garten (LKG) in Bishop’s School, Cantonment branch, were elated when they each received an SMS yesterday afternoon stating that their respective children had secured a seat through the lottery system.

Unexpected error: An official of Bishop’s School explains to irate parents what may have gone wrong yesterday, as the SMS option was being used by the school for the very first time.  Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Overjoyed parents rang up relatives and friends with the good news and some even planned parties to celebrate. Their smiles soon turned to frowns when a second SMS reached them between 20 to 45 minutes later, informing that there had been a ‘technical error’ and they should ignore the earlier message.

The school has 115 available seats for LKG and soon realised that the SMS had somehow been sent to all 590 applicants on the list, and sent the second message, but only after the damage had been done. Scores of angry parents turned up at the school and were seen arguing with the headmaster and demanding that their children be admitted. The school management accepted and regretted the error, but said it could do nothing more. 

Some excited parents who received the first SMS hastily left home to reach the school and complete the admission formalities. Many had covered several kilometres before the second SMS came in and they were in no mood to accept any explanations. Jolly Rehman travelled from his work spot in Hinjewadi, 34 kilometres away, and reached Bishop’s School all excited after he received the message. 

“I was overjoyed upon receiving the message that my boy has been selected and I have to immediately reach the school. Now if the school’s headmaster accepts that it’s their mistake, they should at least conduct the whole admission procedure once again and that also in front of us,” Rehman said. Vishal Chauhan, who had came from Hadapsar with his wife, said, “I got the first message at 1.47 pm informing that parents should reach the school. 

The second message informing that there had been a technical error came at 2.27 pm. I am really upset as I had even informed several relatives about my good fortune.”  Regretting the mistake, Bishop’s School Headmaster Joel Edwin said, “This is the first time we introduced the lottery system for seats in LKG. We carried out the procedure using a special software in the presence of members of the Parent Teachers Association and an official of the Zilla Parishad.”  Edwin added that after the software randomly selected applications of 155 children for LKG, the list was put up on the school’s website. 

“Till that step, the procedure was going in the right direction. We decided to send SMSes to intimate parents, as many may not have been Internet savvy. But then something went haywire and all the parents received the message,” Edwin said.

When asked whether the school would be considering the demand from parents to conduct the admission process afresh, Edwin said, “We are committed to the parents of 155 students who have already been selected. Conducting a fresh procedure would not be fair for them.”  System administrator at the school, Sanjeev Philip, said, “The school has tied up with an IT company based in Gurgaon to provide SMS service to parents. This is the first time we have intimated parents using the option. Somehow, all parents were sent the same message.”

After gathering at the school, the irate parents approached the Lashkar police station to lodge a complaint. “The police refuse to lodge a complaint stating that the school has rectified by sending the second message,” said youth activist Arvind Gore, who is supporting the parents.

When contacted, Sushma Chavhan, police inspector, Lashkar police station, said, “No parent has approached the police station to complain in this regard. If anyone comes forward, we will look into the matter.”  

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