These are appeals challenging, what students claim, bad calls by judges at the Kozhikode Revenue District School Art Festival held recently.

Over 200 students risk losing their chance to participate in the 54 Kerala State School Art Festival following a delay by the Education Department to decide and publish its decision on their appeals.

These are appeals challenging, what students claim, bad calls by judges at the Revenue District School Art Festival held recently. Those students whose appeals are allowed by the panel can participate in the State festival scheduled on January 19.

Of a total of 278 appeals filed by student participants across 17 sub-districts in Kozhikode, a committee led by the Deputy Director of Education (DDE) allowed only 67.

On Wednesday, anxious parents and students gathered outside the DDE’s office, accusing officials of bias and delay.

As per the Kalolsavam Manual, appeals have to be filed within an hour of the announcement of results after paying a processing fee of Rs.1,500. The DDE’s committee conducts a hearing and announces its decision on the same day. The complaints’ process is supposed to be done without delay in order to facilitate students to go further in appeal before a court of law.

“The appeal committee hearing was held last week on Thursday and Friday. But they did not announce their decision on the appeals the same day as per the manual,” a parent said.

Parents said the decision was published only on Monday by 6.30 p.m.

They said the appeals’ decisions were put up at the DDE office after all the officials had left for the day. An assurance given to publish the decision on the official Kalolsavam website was also not fulfilled.

Besides, the appeals’ rejection certificates, a mandatory document required to approach a court for the second appeal, was not distributed on Monday. This had forced parents to wait through Tuesday, a government holiday.

Today, the certificates were handed out to parents and students in the presence of the police at the DDE office.

Parents alleged that not one appeal from schools in Feroke, Kozhikode rural, Nadappuram and Mukkam educational sub-districts were allowed. This is when 14 appeals from one particular school in Chevayur sub-district was allowed, they point out.

They said the DDE office was unable to give a specific reply to any of their questions, and now there is hardly any time left to approach a court in appeal.

But K.P. Prasanna Kumari, Deputy Director of Education, Kozhikode, said the delay was not intentional.

“We could not decide the appeals on the same day because of the sheer volume of complaints. There is no bias shown. There is still two or three days left for the State Youth Festival, they can go in appeal during this time,” she said.

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