Business interests behind move, says school protection panel

A. Pradeep Kumar, MLA, inaugurated a human chain on Thursday in protest against the government decision to close down Aided Upper Primary School, Malaparamba, reportedly on the request of its manager.

School protection committee chairman Bhasi Malaparamba addressed the protestors.

School manager P.K. Padmarajan denied allegations that business interests were behind the request seeking closure. He quoted copies of the government order (GO) which endorsed his request to close down the school. The GO had asked the Deputy Director of Education (DDE) to deploy the teachers of the school in other schools, he said.

The manager had sought permission to close the school from the 2014-15 academic year on the ground of economic non-viability. Also, the manager said, a portion of the school building would be pulled down for the widening of the Mananchira-Vellimadukunni road. No land was available for the construction of a new building. The school, believed to be 150 years old, stands on 35 cents of land. There are eight teachers and a peon. It had 44 students in classes I to VII. Three classrooms would be pulled down for the proposed widening.

Over a dozen students from a nearby orphanage and eight differently abled and physically challenged students, most of them from economically poor backgrounds, study here.

The parent-teachers association (PTA) had opposed the management’s move to obtain permission from the government to close down the school.

Teacher’s organisations, including the Kerala School Teachers’ Association (KSTA), had come out strongly against the move.

The District Education Office was not in favour of closing down the school. Assistant Education Officer (Kozhikode City) K.M. Chandran had stated that the report sent from his office was not one which favoured closure.

Former Deputy Director of Education (DDE) P. Gouri, during whose tenure the report was submitted to the government, had stated that it was ultimately for the government to take a call on the issue.

The parents of differently abled students at the school had also expressed their concern. If the school was closed down, we would suffer the most, they had said. Residents of the area had said that the real estate interests of the management were behind the hasty decision.

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