Maharashtra government will use Google Maps to ensure that students are allocated schools close to their homes, in the online admissions to seats under the RTE Act this year. The admissions are expected to start in the approaching weeks.
Interesting that they are dealing with a problem that it seems like my part of the world has had for years. School zones are so important for many reasons. Obviously everyone wants to go to the top school for the subjects they are interested in. I was just having a discussion about the important of getting into particular schools if you have a significant aptitude for a sport like rugby, or in my case I wanted to be a musician, but I was zoned for a school that taught rugby, I loved to watch rugby, but I didn’t have an aptitude for it, although I did have perfect pitch (pun intended).
The description of the problem isn’t exactly the same although even in Mumbai, the schools people want to get in must be the ones the parents want the children to go to, if they care about their kids’ future.
India has had a lot of work in recent years done to its mapping, but I’m not sure how much of that looks at population demographics. In many parts of the world, especially big cities, being entitled to go to a particular school comes down to 4 things (excluding bribery which of course doesn’t happen in New Zealand.
1. Living within the geocoded boundaries, the polygon that shapes the school zone.
2. Your parents alma mater. If they went to that school you have a higher likelihood of getting in.
3. A ballot of everyone who applies but doesn’t qualify for the school.
4. Being extremely good in the sphere of excellence that the school is known for, which could be sport, music, science, business etc. If you are a gifted rower, then you are more likely to be accepted into a school that is in the top tier of that sport.
So what happens if you don’t meet those criteria, the most common one is to rent or buy a home inside the school zone, or put on a good enough representation of that. There are of course exceptions such as for refugees or people that have a valid reason to need to be at another school, for example after the Christchurch earthquakes, some schools were closed down, some children and/or their parents had PTSD, or had lost their homes. They were of course welcomed into schools all over the country. Some have stayed.
I’m sure in India there will be (as there was here) much debate and dispute as to how to create fair school zones, which in some countries and cities may also come down to money, politics and other factors. There will probably also be elements of extended families or broken families. Then comes the issues of proof that the child lives within the desired zone, whilst one or both parents might not.
I sometimes wonder when these things happen, i.e. problem solutions that have been resolved many times in other cities and countries, why more attention isn’t paid to learning from the success and failures of others. This is so frequently apparent in technologies related to location. You will find many such stories in my blogs.