Kozhikode

Plus One seats up but schools lack facilities

Students in schools get very little time as a break.

Students in schools get very little time as a break.   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT

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Quality of education at stake, fear teachers

The additional Plus One seats sanctioned in the Malabar region may have helped address its shortage, but tardy efforts to create the required facilities in most schools are likely to hit the quality of education, claims a section of teachers.

The State government recently announced an additional 10% Plus One seats in government and aided higher secondary schools in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Kannur, Wayanad and Kasaragod districts after widespread complaints of a mismatch between the number of students who clear Class 10 exams and the total number of seats on offer. There was a shortage of 60,000 seats in these districts, the highest being in Malappuram, Palakkad and Kozhikode districts. Earlier, there had been a decision to increase the seats by 20% across the State.

Teachers, however, claim that the rise in intake has not come with the introduction of corresponding facilities. Joshi Antony, State president, Kerala Aided Higher Secondary Teachers Association, told The Hindu on Monday that over the past few years, the number of seats in a batch had gone up from 50 to around 65 in each higher secondary school. “A school with five batches used to have a student strength of 250. Last year, the student strength was 300. This year, they have been asked to admit 325 students.”

However, the facilities in classrooms and laboratories have not gone up accordingly. Five or six students cram in each bench in a class. Students get very little time as a break, and most of them, especially girls, find it difficult to even attend nature’s call. It might lead to infection issues, Mr. Antony pointed out.

“The intention behind de-linking pre-degree courses from colleges was to give more attention to students. With such high student strength, how can a teacher pay proper attention to students,” he asked. Sources in government higher secondary schools said they faced staff shortage too.

Mr. Antony said instead of increasing the number of Plus One seats, the government should have transferred some of the excess batches in the southern districts to schools facing shortage. As many as 20,000 vacant seats were reported in higher secondary schools in southern and central districts.

Another section of teachers, mainly those belonging to the Left-aligned Kerala School Teachers Association, however, have brushed aside some of these fears, while admitting that the increased intake might lead to practical problems.

P.K. Satheesan, vice-president, KSTA, said Education Minister C. Ravindranath had promised to address any issue arising out of shortage of Plus One seats.

“Some of those students who clear Class 10 examination can seek admission in polytechnics and ITIs and such professional courses,” he added.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 8:23:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/plus-one-seats-up-but-schools-lack-facilities/article24256112.ece

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