The Telegraph
Monday , January 6 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Tech luck versus manual

Testing times for parents have arrived. Private English-medium schools have started conducting random selection process for entry-level — read nursery or equivalent — admissions for children.

Since all schools have to declare the admission list on January 18, the lottery — a mandatory feature under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 — will have to be over by January 17.

Some schools have preferred to stick to the software Saras 2.0 — not a favourite with parents despite being approved by the East Singhbhum district administration last year — while others have preferred the manual lottery.

ADLS Sunshine School on Sunday conducted its random selection via Saras 2.0, while Dayanand Public School held its manual lottery on Saturday.

Knowing how sensitive the issue was, ADLS Sunshine School invited members of the management, randomly selected parents, a media representative and the officials of the district education department to witness the lottery through Saras 2.0.

“We always invite parents and members of the school management so that they too are satisfied with the transparency of the process,” said Indrani Singh, principal of ADLS Sunshine School.

A representative of Jupiter Software and Systems Private Limited, which manufactured the software, was also present explaining the entire process step by step to the witnesses.

In a bid to allay worries of parents, the official explained why this was tamper-proof.

Taking the instance of ADLS, he said the software was installed on Sunday in the school.

“The software needs to be registered with an exclusive id and a password so that it can be accessed only by one person — in this case, the principal. After the principal registers and logs in, we check the list of the names in the general category to match whether it is same as the original data that has been fed into it,” said the representative of Jupiter Software and Systems.

The next step is to shuffle the names for the lottery. While the representative does that, the screen shows the number of shuffle and displays the first trial list on the screen. The process is repeated four more times with a final list being displayed for the fifth time. At all times, names appear to be different. However, in this process, an automatic PDF file is stored in the system so that the school has a record of all the four trial lists and the final selected students’ list.

According to insiders, some 20 schools will opt for the software.

The principal of Dayanand Public School, however, said why they opted for the manual system.

“For the last three years, we have been doing the selection manually. In fact, we invited all 500 parents who had taken the forms, out of whom 200 came yesterday (Saturday). We stuck to the manual lottery as many parents complained about the software. Seeing the manual process keeps them happy,” said Swarna Mishra, principal.

Which random process makes you happy as a parent?