33 schools set up under AIP

The United Democratic Front (UDF) will take a political decision on the status of 33 schools, set up in Malabar, under the Union government’s Area Intensive Programme (AIP).

The decision to refer the issue to the UDF was taken when the Cabinet could not arrive at a consensus. Education Minister Abdu Rabb submitted a proposal envisaging a government takeover of these schools, besides payment of salary to teachers on par with aided schools. Sources said Power and Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed and Finance Minister K.M. Mani strongly opposed the proposal.

Mr. Mohammed argued that the matter should be decided politically. Mr. Mani’s opposition was to the huge outflow from the State exchequer, but he stuck to his earlier position that he had no objections to the proposal if the Cabinet was to take the appropriate decision.

The proposal to give aided status had become a controversy earlier, with the Opposition Left Democratic Front making all out efforts to put the government on the mat.

Initially, the 33 schools got all assistance under AIP. But, the State government had to take over the payment of salaries to the teachers after the scheme came to an end. The LDF government had also taken a favourable view with regard to payment of salaries to the 233 teachers in these schools.

The matter had been referred to the UDF earlier, but the ruling coalition chose to skirt the issue by stating that the Cabinet would examine the matter from the administrative point of view. With further objections to the proposals, the ball seems to have been lobbed back to the UDF, sources said.