Complaints against education policy
Chief Minister Ommen Chandy on Monday promised the Nair Service Society (NSS) that the government would take a just decision on their complaints regarding the education sector.
Inaugurating the 135th Mannam Jayanti celebrations at Perunna, the Chief Minister said he was aware of the significance of the complaints raised by the NSS leaders regarding the education sector and said the government would take a fair and impartial decision in the matter.
The Chief Minister's comment comes in the wake of the demand made by the NSS to amend certain provisions in the Government Order for constitution of a Teachers' Bank as part of the one-time School Education Package and the criticism of the functioning of the Education Department by NSS general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair.
He said the government's decision to amend the Kerala Educational Rules (KER) had removed the ‘gross injustice' that had brought the fee structure at schools run by the majority community under government scrutiny while letting minority-run schools charge fee at their will. “We could do away with a system whereby less than 20 per cent of the schools were placed under government control while
more than 80 per cent of them enjoyed complete freedom, denying the majority managements a level-playing ground,” he said.
He said the government had not done anything out of the way for the NSS. “The government had recognised only those demands that were legitimate and socially relevant,” Mr. Chandy said.
The Chief Minister said Mannathu Padmanabhan was a person who turned his life history into the history of the Service Society which, in turn, he turned into the story of society. He was among those rare ‘karma yogis' who firmly believed and proved through his action that one could reform a whole society while working for his own community. However, this was not at the cost of the communal harmony existing in society, Mr Chandy said and added that the present generation should feel proud and indebted to people like Mannathu Padmanabhan for the communal amity in the State.
Earlier, the NSS general secretary, in his welcome address, thanked the government for the bold decisions it had taken on the demands made by the NSS. However, these demands were socially relevant and not aimed at the benefit of the Nair community alone, he said.
He came down on the Education Department for what he termed ‘flawed policies' and said these policies were aimed at weakening private managements. “Instead of weakening private managements as a whole in the name of corruption, the government should bring in rules to punish those managements who erred in their responsibility, he said.
Finance Minister K.M. Mani, in his talk, said it was time to redefine the forward and backward communities. “Those who are economically backward belong to one community and those who are economically forward belong to another,” he said.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala described Mannathu Padmanabhan as a person who walked ahead of his times.
T.P. Sreenivasan, vice-chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council, delivered the memorial lecture. A message from Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony was read out on the occasion. P.N. Narendranathan Nair, NSS treasurer, presided over the function in the absence of president P.K. Naryana Panicker.