Smiles outshone sniffles at most schools in the city on Monday. Hundreds of children entered brightly coloured classrooms, in the company of sweets and flowers. Simply put, there was no reason to wail. ‘Pravesanotsavam 2012,' the State-wide welcome ceremony, ensured that their formal education began on a joyous note.

At the Manacaud Government L.P. School, dubbed ‘Udyanavidyalam', the little ones had too many distractions. The classrooms had colourful furniture, stuffed toys, and even aquariums. Outside, there was a pretty little garden and a children's park, complete with a waterfall. The unfamiliar surroundings and the brief absence of parents were promptly forgotten. “We have taken great pains to ensure that the children enjoy coming here,” said school headmistress Lissy Kuriakose.

As many as 240 students joined Class 1 here and around 105 new students got admitted in the LKG section. The official inauguration of ‘Pravesanotsavam' of schools under the city Corporation was held at Karthika Thirunal Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Manacaud. Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar inaugurated the programme at a function presided over by Mayor K. Chandrika. Mr. Sivakumar said that around 3.3 lakh children would be newly admitted to schools across the State on Monday. “Quality education is a key priority of the State government. Strengthening of school PTAs is part of these efforts,” he said.

The Cotton Hill pre-primary school welcomed 79 first timers. Headmistress B. Chitra said that admission would continue for another week.

A. Shabeer and Suveena, parents of Shabana who joined LKG at the school, said that the care given by teachers and the quality of education here had prompted them to admit their child to this government school. “Our elder daughter also studies here. The expenses are less. Besides, the children are given nutritious food, both for breakfast and lunch,” Mr. Shabeer said.

But not all government schools were in a mood to celebrate. Many grapple with the issue of dwindling number of students. Government High School, Vanchiyoor, is one such. “We have only two admissions in Class 1 this year. The new admissions total nine. We hope more students will join,” said headmistress G. Prasanna Kumari.

Keywords: Pravesanotsavam