Students of the Government Higher Secondary School (HSS) at Karapuzha, near here, on Monday protested against the alleged apathy of the authorities in ensuring adequate faculty strength at the educational institution. The functioning of the school has taken a hit with the lack of teachers for English and Social Science subjects in Classes 8, 9 and 10 for the past three weeks.

Peace was restored in the school with Jessy Joseph, Deputy Director of Education, Kottayam, providing assurance of resolving the issue within a week. Besides nearly 120 students of the three affected classes, guardians and members of the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) participated in the demonstration that lasted for nearly two hours.

PTA president Shaji M. said the problems began when a teacher, who taught both the subjects, was transferred with promotion to another school two months ago.

This was when the Kerala Administrative Tribunal approved an earlier government order transferring a teacher, who suffered from various physical disabilities, from a school in Palakkad to the Government HSS at Karapuzha on compassionate grounds.

The authorities were directed to accommodate the teacher by entrusting her with assisting the Headmaster in the day-to-day functioning of the school.

Mr. Shaji pointed out that the teacher had difficulties in teaching owing to the disabilities. The fact that she used to teach Mathematics complicated the issue further. However, the authorities claimed inability in transferring her to another post in the same school owing to the order to the tribunal. The absence of a vacant post also made it difficult to make another permanent appointment.

Later, the school managed to tide over the situation, albeit temporarily, by appointing a person on daily-wage basis to teach the two subjects for nearly a month. However, the temporary arrangement had to be discontinued due to shortage of funds.

Notably, the school has been among the consistent performers in the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examinations. It has registered cent per cent pass for the past six years.

Deputy Director of Education Ms. Joseph said the Kottayam municipal authorities had assured to provide another teacher on daily-wage basis using the funds of the local body. Officials of the Education Department have been apprised of the situation. The issue will be raised again during a meeting with the Director of Public Instruction on October 28.

However, the students, their guardians and the PTA have threatened to re-launch their agitation if the authorities fail to honour their promise within a week.