PTAs of Mahe Govt. schools on warpath

MAHE JUNE 26. The Joint Parent-Teachers Association of Mahe (JPTA) that co-ordinates the PTAs of all the 18 Government schools in the Mahe education area is on warpath demanding urgent attention of the Pondicherry Government to various issues including lack of IT education in schools, shortage of teachers and infrastructural facilities in the schools.

The JPTA president, M.P. Shivadasan, and the general secretary, K.K. Ummar, said here that though Kerala syllabus was being followed in the schools here that were controlled by the Pondicherry Education Department, school students here were yet to be exposed to IT education that was introduced in Kerala schools in the last academic year. Stating that the Education Department appeared ostensibly oblivious to these developments, they said it was cruel on its part to deny IT education to the students here. In Kerala schools, Class VIII students wrote IT examination and entered Class IX, they said. If Class IX students here were denied IT education this academic year also, none of them was likely to pass the SSLC examination next year, they said.

The JPTA office-bearers also said that the shortage of teaching staff, especially in the higher secondary sector, was another major problem that remained unaddressed by the Pondicherry authorities. None of the 11 teaching posts required to be created at the Palloor School to handle higher secondary classes had been sanctioned even three years after its upgradation as higher secondary school, they said. In the Mahe Higher Secondary School started eight years ago, posts of Vice-Principal and school staff were yet to be filled. There was also shortage of teachers for handling science subjects and Arabic and French, they said.

Stating that all the four higher secondary schools here functioning as if they were separate domains, Mr. Shivadasan and Mr. Ummar said that as the official grade of the higher secondary Vice-Principal was equivalent to that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) here, the latter's orders were not taken seriously by the higher secondary schools. This anarchy would seriously affect the future of thousands of students, they said.

They said that all the Government schools here had been recording either 100 per cent or nearly 100 per cent pass percentage in the SSLC examinations over the past three decades. Deployment of schoolteachers to additionally handle higher secondary classes would affect the standards of high school classes, they pointed out.

While a total 58 teachers were required for the four higher secondaries here, only 33 teaching posts had been created, out of which 28 posts remained vacant and the remaining 25 posts were yet to be created. Posts of two Vice-Principals and over 20 non-teaching staff also remained vacant, they said.

The JPTA office-bearers also said that many of the primary schools here were also in pathetic conditions. Out of the 10 primary schools here, seven were yet to have adequate building facilities. The English and Malayalam medium L.P. Schools here were functioning in the same building as morning and afternoon batches respectively. Though sanction for construction of buildings for many of the L.P. schools here had already been given, works were yet to be started. The lone French School here was functioning in a rented buildings with very little facilities, they said.

The JPTA had also demanded that students from neighbouring Kerala areas should be admitted to higher secondary seats available here after admitting all the resident students here. At present, admission to higher secondary classes was restricted to the resident students, they said.

The JPTA leaders would meet the Pondicherry Education Minister on June 27 to submit a memorandum. Unless no steps were taken to redress the issues on a war footing, the JPTA would stage a token dharna in front of the office of the Mahe Administrator, they said adding that the association would resort to agitation if their demands went unheeded.

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