Amending (and re-amending) the criteria for Grade One admissions has now become such a recurrent activity for the education authorities of this country that now it is a ritual like taking the daily bath. Education Secretary will be modifying his criteria again today, we have been told, but please do not take bets that would be final. The process might be repeated tomorrow, the day after…well, it is like a perpetual machine now.
To make the job of the Education Authorities let us present some FACTS (NOT opinions, but concrete facts) they have to take into account of they want to stipulate a criteria which will not be as uncertain as, say, the prices of essential items in a country facing hyperinflation.
q The ‘quota’ system has already being ruled out. So reverting to it will only result in one of the stakeholders raising fundamental rights, so everything will be back to square one.
q Old boys/girls, whether one likes or not, still very much a part of the game. They cannot be taken out of the equation. They are the ones, not the government that financially runs the so-called ‘popular schools’. The government only pays the teachers. Take old boys/girls out, the government has to find means to provide funds to run these schools, from already curtailed budgets.
q The criteria, whatever they are, should not only be fair by everybody, but also practically measurable. Even if we ignore the logic of evaluating the 5 years olds for their IQ, it would simply be impractical to test their IQ (or EQ or SQ or whatever) conducting individual verbal tests . (Written tests would not be possible)
q The state schools are run by the tax payers money comes from the national treasury. Not from any provincial, district or municipal budget. This yields it is gross unfair to restrict the admissions within selected areas. (A similar argument was the basis for the first fundamental rights case)
q Making the residential address of the parents a ‘qualification’ for a child to enter into a school, is as illogical as making parents’ education or occupation a ‘qualification’.
The only way out of this might be a radical decision, but the question is our Education Authorities would be brave enough to take it.
Source: Contributed by one of our regular readers, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Open for discussion.