Monday, August 20, 2012

Fairness

What can we do to alleviate the annual furore over over Primary 1 registration?

No matter how the rules have been amended after public feedback, many still feel that they are getting a raw deal. While students are not allowed to donate to get into coveted schools, people still begrudge those who volunteer at schools to get an edge. No one should be allowed to volunteer. It is unfair to those who can't do so.

Still others are angry that alumni get priority for their children. No one should be allowed to benefit as alumni. It is unfair to those who aren't alumni.

What if we streamline the categories further then, and perhaps...allocate purely by proximity to the school? After all, this is an important consideration. People want their children to go to school conveniently. But this would mean that house prices around the preferred schools would increase. It is unfair to those who can't afford to move near the best schools.

As a thought experiment, I tried imagining what the fairest system would look like. It has to be one in which no one has a natural or social advantage, right? Supposing...we just close our eyes and allocate the children according to their surnames, by alphabetical order. All the As and Bs go to A school... regardless of where they live etc. It could mean being sent to a school far away, but at least, it isn't because you have been unfairly treated.

Alternatively, how allocating purely by balloting? Everyone lines up and ballots at his First choice. If he fails, he then ballots at his Second choice, and so on. Eventually he would end up getting a place somewhere, even if it neither near nor desired. But at least, he has had a fair chance, and you can't blame your luck on anyone else.

Since we can't have equal satisfaction, shall we settle for equal misery?

This entry isn't meant to trivialise the anxiety parents go through. Despite racking my brains, I just can't dream up a system which everyone feels is fair, and if anyone can, please share with us so that we can resolve this problem once and for all.

1 comment:

speedyrabbit said...

the problem is difficult as know matter what you do somebody will be unhappy