TAMIL NADU

Strike casts shadow on education sector

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, FEB. 15. The ongoing State-wide general strike by government employees and teachers has cast its shadow on the education sector, as the functioning of most of the educational institutions in the district has come to a standstill.

With no end in sight to the strike that has been on for 10 days, the worst casualty would be the education sector, it is feared.

Barring the un-aided schools and the Kendriya Vidyalayas in the district, all the schools have been affected by the strike. Even though some teachers continue to report for duty, there has been no worthwhile academic activity in any of the schools. It is a paradoxical situation, with at least a few teachers reporting for duty in some of the schools where the children do not turn up and teachers striking work in schools where children do not fail to report each morning.

It is the fag end of the academic year and therefore all the more crucial for the students. For the teachers, it is a question of the protection of their rights that they have enjoyed for long. However, for the students and their parents, what is at stake is their very future.

At the school level, the academic activity has been derailed as the syllabus for the year has not been completed yet. Parents have expressed the fear, that even after the strike is withdrawn it will take more time for the educational institutions to start functioning properly. Whether it would be possible to complete the prescribed syllabus within the remaining period and to hold the examinations before the academic year draws to an end on March 31, is a matter of concern for parents and apparently not for teachers.

However, there is concern over the strike affecting the conduct of the SSLC examinations. Quite surprisingly, even the concerned authorities do not seem to be bothered about the strike jeopardizing the holding of the Plus Two examinations.

The practical examinations for the final year of the Plus Two course had been scheduled to begin today and the theory papers in the first week of March. In most of the schools, the model examinations were to be conducted from the first week of February. The entire schedule has been upset by the ongoing strike.

The indefinite delay in conducting the Plus Two examinations would have disastrous consequences. Students are a worried lot for if the Plus Two results are inordinately delayed, those seeking admission to professional courses outside the State would be in deep trouble.

The higher education sector too has its share of problems. Last year, the final year degree examinations of the Kerala University had begun by the first week of March and the results were out in just two months. Such a schedule had been drawn up well in advance, with the objective of introducing the semester system at the post-graduate level.

With college teachers also on strike, the functioning of most of the colleges has been disrupted and obviously the schedule of university examinations is also likely to go haywire.

Another side of the story is that the children of some of the leaders of the organisations of government employees and teachers which are spearheading the strike, are studying in un-aided schools where the teachers are not on strike, it is pointed out.

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