After receiving several complaints regarding allotment of schools for admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act in the past two years since its implementation, the Gujarat government kicked off the online application process on Friday with the aid of a paid service of Google Maps.
The complaints earlier were that online applicants’ residences were not displaying correctly on the map, due to which they were not directed correctly to schools in their vicinity. As a result of this, once the school has been alloted, parents’ requests to change the school fall on deaf ears. Students would then either end up having to give up their admissions or commute long distances every day.
For the first time, the Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb), a Gujarat government organisation, has tied up with Google Maps, and is expected to enable a hassle-free admission process with regard to allotment of schools.
However, on the first day, there were some complaints but these were about the portal not being accessible for a few hours in the afternoon.
“This time we have tied up with Google Maps’ paid service. This will ensure high levels of accuracy,” Managing Director of iNDEXTb Rajkumar Beniwal said. “The earlier issues were because we were not using the platform as a paid service. We were using it for free.”
He said that the charges under the time-bound agreement with Google Maps are nominal, and that the service would be used for two-three months till the admission process is completed.
This year, the online admission portal has been developed in house by iNDEXTb, which also maintains it. Earlier these tasks had been outsourced.
iNDEXb acts as a single-point contact for entrepreneurs for establishing industrial ventures in Gujarat. It has set up separate cells such as the investment promotion division, investor facilitation, business research cell and computer centre.
Another change that the education department has made to ensure that it faces fewer complaints and requests for school change after allotment is giving applicants the option of choosing the medium of instruction.
“There are many complaints from parents that they applied for one medium and the children were allotted other medium. This was also due to the fact that many schools offer several mediums within the same campus,” an education official said. “So, before selection of the school, an applicant is asked to fill in his choice of medium. After this, schools under the chosen medium will be displayed. This will also ensure, if in case there is still an error in school allotment, to verify what medium an applicant has applied for.”
The official said it had become important for the education department to have a means to verify which medium the applicant had chosen, as many a time it was cyber cafe operators who filled in the forms for the applicant’s parents.
Over 1.25 lakh seats from over 10,000 private schools are open for admission to children from economically weaker section and disadvantaged groups under RTE this year.