A plus two class room at GHSS Cherkala, Kasaragod. File photo | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: The 30 per cent seat increase announced for plus one classes will not effectively resolve the higher secondary admission crisis in the Malabar region. Though technically the availability of seats is more than the number of candidates for plus one, insufficient facilities in schools may affect the learning process, according to students, teachers, and parents.
In the districts from Palakkad to Kasaragod, 2,25,702 students have qualified for higher studies, whereas the available plus one seats are only 2,01,885. The authorities argue that if all schools implement a 30 per cent increase in seats, there will be 30,282 seats, which exceed the requirement.
However, some government-aided private schools and unaided schools are reluctant to increase seats. Even in government schools, basic facilities like laboratories may become insufficient for the increased capacity. With this overcrowding, conducting experiments and participating in extracurricular activities become challenging for teachers, who are already burdened with completing the syllabus in limited time.
Fifty is the normal strength of a plus one class. With the 30 per cent increase, it will become 65.
This has been a persistent issue in Malabar districts for years. Professor V Karthikeyan committee recommended the government to allow 200 new batches in the Malabar region. However, the government, citing the huge financial burden, did not approve it.
It may be noted that permanent teachers have not yet been appointed for the 58 batches introduced across 51 schools in 2014-15.
Critics argue that the total number of seats in the state must not be the criterion to conclude that all students clearing class 10 will be accommodated as there is a "huge disparity" in available seats in the Malabar region. They argue for a "taluk-wise reality check" and new batches to address the shortage.
Increasing the number of seats without providing adequate physical facilities and a sufficient number of teachers will prove more detrimental than beneficial, they say.