A section of aided primary school headmasters are planning to keep off from the upcoming school arts festivals in protest against the alleged delay in increasing the allocation for the noon meal scheme.
Functionaries of the Kerala Aided Private Primary Headmasters’ Association said on Monday that they might also stop serving the noon meal for a day. A hunger strike outside the State secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram is also being mulled over.
G. Sunil Kumar, general secretary of the association, told The Hindu that Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty had promised to increase the funds during talks held with teachers’ unions on September 4. This was after a series of protests held in different parts of the State. However, an official order is yet to be released.
Association leaders pointed out that the government was still following the expense per student fixed in 2016. For schools with a student strength of 150, each is allotted ₹8 a day. For those with a strength of 500 students, it is ₹7. Schools with more than 500 students will get only ₹6 per student. The rates have not been revised since then.
Besides, students are supposed to be given eggs and milk. Each student needs 300 millilitres of milk a week, the cost of which was ₹39 in 2016. Now, it costs ₹52, head teachers claimed. The price of egg was over ₹3 earlier. Now, it is over ₹6. This is given twice a week. The price of LPG refill per cylinder was ₹420 in 2016. Now, it is around ₹1,110. The price of vegetables has also substantially gone up. The teachers are also expected to pay transportation costs.
The association leaders pointed out that in a school with a student strength of 100, head teachers are forced to spend around ₹1,300 a day from their own pockets to meet the expenses. In a month, it goes above ₹25,000. Teachers are demanding that the government increase funds for the scheme.