Opposition alleges lack of enough seats for SSLC pass-outs
The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition walked out of the Assembly on Monday, slamming the government for its “failure” to ensure an adequate number of higher secondary Plus One seats for SSLC pass-outs.
Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said an estimated 4,19,653 students had qualified for admission to Plus One courses.
However, the yawning gap between the high number of aspirants and the relatively low number of seats available in public-funded schools would force a large number of eligible students from struggling families out of the mainstream of affordable education. Unaided schools that levy a high fee would be their only recourse.
General Education Minister V. Sivankutty has refused to sanction more batches in government-aided schools. Instead, he has guaranteed more Plus One seats for private schools to tide over the crisis of the government’s own making, Mr. Satheesan said.
Remark sparks furore
Mr. Satheesan’s remark questioning Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s wisdom in giving Mr. Sivankutty the education portfolio sparked a furore in the House. It also provoked a tit-for-tat reply from the Minister. “I did not ask who appointed Mr. Satheesan as the Opposition Leader,” he said.
Mr. Sivankutty also chided Mr. Satheesan for erroneously stating that Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had conducted the board examinations. “Only Kerala has that honour,” he said.
Mr. Satheesan warned the government that the High Court had asked not to cram students in classrooms. The 20% increase in Plus One seats in schools in North Kerala without a commensurate improvement in infrastructure would not stand legal scrutiny, he said.
Congress legislator Shafi Parambil, who moved an adjournment motion, said the government could use the public money splurged on rented helicopters and expensive vehicles to sanction more Plus One batches.
The UDF had aired the anxiety of students and parents who could ill-afford private schooling. “Even full A-plus students could not get admission in neighbourhood schools or opt for subjects of their choice,” he said.
Mr. Sivankutty said the government would address anomalies in Plus One admission. The government would consider vacant seats set apart for the reservation category as merit seats during the second allotment. Speaker M.B. Rajesh disallowed the UDF motion.
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