Kerala higher secondary school teachers to challenge government move to add more Plus Two seats

A section of higher secondary school teachers are planning to challenge the government move to add more Plus Two seats this year as it will be against a High Court order calling for verification of the alleged lack of facilities in classrooms.

Against the backdrop of high pass percentage in Class X examinations and the general shortage of seats in the northern districts, Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty recently said that more seats would be allotted in higher secondary schools for the current academic year. However, Joshy Antony, president of the Kerala Aided Higher Secondary Teachers Association, told The Hindu on Wednesday that the High Court in July last year addressed the condition of classrooms in the State while disposing of a petition he had filed.

Mr. Antony had pointed out in the plea that when Plus Two courses were launched in 1991, the maximum number of pupils fixed for a higher secondary batch was 50. The government on May 27, 2019 ordered a marginal increase by 20%. The seats were enhanced by another 20% on June 28 the same year.

Class dimensions

Mr. Antony said Rule 6 of Chapter IV of the Kerala Education Rules had fixed the dimension of a classroom as 8 sq ft of floor space and 8 cubic ft of air space per pupil. For higher secondary schools, the dimension should be 6x6x3.7 metres.

In 1991, the government had ordered that the dimension of a classroom would be 12x6x3.7 metres and the maximum strength should be 60. Six years later, it was reduced to 9x6x3.7 metres for subjects and 6x6x3.7 metres for languages when the maximum student strength was 50. On June 11, 2002, the government fixed the maximum strength at 50, while ordering the same dimensions for classrooms.

Mr. Antony claimed that the enhancement of seats in 2019 without a corresponding increase in facilities had caused hardship to students and teachers alike. It was difficult to accommodate 60 to 65 students when there is shortage of space.

Court’s stance

In an order issued on July 27, 2020, single judge P.V. Asha, however, found merit in the government counter-affidavit that there would be sufficient space for teachers and students in accordance with successive orders. But, the court also said that the “matter requires consideration by the government after actual verification.”

“In view of the present scenario of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, immediate action would be practically impossible. Therefore, appropriate action shall be taken before the commencement of classes in the next academic year 2021-22,” it said.

Mr. Antony said that no steps had yet been taken to verify the condition of classrooms so far and the seats were being increased.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 11:34:35 PM |

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