Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA: A confederation of 11 teachers' associations has asked the Union government to permit the State to make necessary amendments to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act-2009 to bring it in conformity with the prevailing system in Kerala.

Addressing a prèss conference here on Wednesday, confederation leaders G. Mohanachandran (KSTA), Susheelkumar (AKSTU), R. Kailash (KPPHA) and Jose Mathew (KPSHA), said the public as well as the teaching community were apprehensive about the “problems in store for this highly literate State's education sector” if the Act was implemented in its present form.

They said the Central legislation making education a fundamental right of every child between the age of six and 14 years was indeed a progressive step. However, it should be noted that Kerala has already been providing education up to Class XII free for all since the past several years and the State's education system was comparable to that in developed countries, they added.

‘Negative impact'

The Central Act would benefit various other States, but it would have negative implications in Kerala, Mr. Mohanachandran said.

If the Act was implemented in the State in its present form, free education for children would be available only up to Class VIII, besides rendering tens of thousands of teachers jobless, he alleged.

According to him, the recommendation to make six years the minimum age for admission to Class I would mean that there would not be any admission to Class I this year and its negative impacts would be transferred up to Class XII. Not less than 2,250 teachers would be thrown out in Pathanamthitta district alone with the implementation of the Act this year, he alleged.

The confederation leaders alleged that posts of as many as 20,000 high school assistants would become redundant by making Class VIII part of high school as per the new Act. Not less than 700 high school assistants would become jobless in Pathanamthitta district alone, he added. Mr. Mohanchandran said the confederation would organise a district-level seminar on ‘Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act-2009 and Kerala' at Prof. Mundasserry Memorial Hall in Pathanamthitta on Friday.