Abu Dhabi: The first day of registration for the upcoming academic year yesterday saw hundreds of anxious parents queuing up from 4am in a desperate bid to register their children for the limited seats available at the Abu Dhabi Indian School.

However, despite being told that the ticket procedure would begin at 8am and that registration would run from 8am until 5pm, several parents were surprised to see others already clutching the sought-after tokens.

"We were told that registration would begin at 8am but when I arrived at 7.45am, I saw many other parents already holding tokens… When we tried to speak to the administrators, we were told that tickets were handed out at 6am because of parents who had arrived early to stand in line," said F.R. a businessman who is hoping to register his daughter for KG1.

"Then at 8am, the school closed its doors and refused to admit anyone to register."

V. K. Mathu, the school's adviser, said tokens are handed out at 6am on a first-come-first-served basis, with 800 tokens issued every day.

"The parents are then ushered into a hall at 7:30am after our pupils have begun classes. Their token numbers are called out and their application forms accepted," Mathu said.

Overwhelming demand

"Due to overwhelming demand, we are unable to process more than 800 applications a day. Our staff work from early in the morning until late in the evening sifting through and inputting all the data we receive so that everything is accurate when it's time for our lottery on Saturday."

The four-day registration period, which ends on Wednesday, is broken down as follows: the first two days are devoted to kindergarten and Grade 1 pupils. The third day is reserved for applications for Grades 2-8 while the final day is for parents who were unable to make it beforehand.

"I'm very worried that I won't be able to register or enrol my daughter," F.R. said. "I also tried applying to other schools but was told that they were either full or shifting to the Mussafah are, which is too far for her."