Thursday, May 8, 2008

Admission Agonies.

        Kerala has always been a bit of a pioneer in terms of educational reforms and innovations. From the Educational Bill during the time of the EMS government to DPEP and the proposal to make languages optional, new approaches (however flawed the execution) have been a obsession for us Mallus;). So its not surprising that a new admission system (for Class XI) has been introduced in state board schools.The details are not clear yet but the rough outlines are as follows:

        Admissions are to be conducted at a district level using a single-window system. Students submit one application form at any school with a list of preferred options in that particular district. When the first list comes out, students can choose to "temporarily" join a school and leave it if their names are on the list of a preferred school when the second list comes out. However if they take a "permanent admission" the first time, they cannot change options. Further details awaited.

        Interesting idea. The plus side is obviously the fact that students(and parents) have to only fill one form and do not have to go through the agonies of wondering which school(waiting list-3 in not-so-good school an waiting list 57 in good school) to choose (most of them used to have their admissions on the same day). The disadvantage is pretty obvious as well. The district level admission procedure could turn out to be one paper mess.Imagine sorting out the marks of all the students in the district onto all the schools based on preferences! An added disadvantage would be the possible lack of compatibility with admissions to CBSE and ICS school especially with temporary and permanent admissions. However these are things that could be gotten over.

        The only issue is that---Next year theres going to be one single window for the entire state!!!! Now that's a pen-pusher's paradise.

        As an aside, its a bit difficult to understand why the LDF government, which has hitherto gone about promoting decentralization of education (eg the recent proposal to bring all schools under the controls of Local Self-governing Bodies) has suddenly turned around and embarked on a major drive to introduce centralization. While I understand the attraction that a single-window system offers, it is to be noted that a single window system of such mammoth proportions may just collapse under its own weight. Proponents of the system have been citing the success of the system in counseling for admission to Engineering and Medical Colleges but we are talking about a much larger number of students and a larger number of seats. I have no idea about the motives behind such a policy shift but it sure has complicated matters for students, teachers and the government. Hope things don't get worse for students who seem to be encountering an innovation almost every year, many of which, one suspects are not carefully planned, especially the implementation part.

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