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Don't let students stay on the streets anymore

Dont let students stay on the streets anymore

While a section of students in Kerala who secured eligibility for higher studies in the SSLC exams are busy with Plus One admissions, another significant section is engaged in a struggle to assert their right to continue their education. Students from the Malabar region are at the forefront of this protest. Several leaders, including the opposition leader, have come forward in support of them. The inadequacy of higher secondary seats in the districts of Malabar is not a new issue. The 'Madhyamam' newspaper highlighted this issue with accurate figures and documents during the SSLC result announcement this time, pointing out that this years-long neglect should be brought to an end. While seats remain vacant in schools in some districts of Kerala, A+ scorers are waiting without seats in another part. Meanwhile, news has emerged that a student in Parappanangadi, Malappuram district, committed suicide due to not getting Plus One admission. While suicide is not a solution, the government has the responsibility to not create situations that push teenagers towards such decisions.

The Education Minister's explanation is that there are enough Plus One seats in districts, including Malappuram. Let this be presented before the Assembly for explanation. The figures are based on the number of seats in VHSE, ITI, and Polytechnic institutions. The minister's argument falls apart right there. He is not an uninformed person; he knows that an ITI certificate is not sufficient to join professional courses or pursue higher education. Asking students to study by paying fees in unaided schools is not a solution to the problem raised by the students. The minister and the government, which constantly claim to be striving to strengthen public education, justify that there are enough seats by showing figures from unaided schools, which is not only an injustice but also a deception.

The minister also argues that seats were vacant in the Malabar districts even after admissions were completed in the last three years. This argument is a lie. Not a single merit seat filled through the single window system last year was vacant in the districts of Palakkad, Malappuram, and Kozhikode. Meanwhile, 878 seats were vacant in Thiruvananthapuram district, where the minister resides, 1443 seats in Pathanamthitta, and 1307 seats in Ernakulam district.

The Minister's latest grievance is that it has become customary for students to declare agitation every year during the Plus One admission season. The Minister, who once led student-youth struggles, is now adeptly labelling the completely justified struggle of students as unnecessary and against the thoughtless and biased stance of the department he heads, which deprives them of the opportunity for higher education. It is not because students and organizations want to protest, but because the government has no inclination to end the injustice that they are forced to resort to agitation during the Plus One admission season. The media and political parties, which had pretended not to see this blatant discrimination in the past, have now come out against the injustice that can no longer be covered up.

The Minister's assurance is that if there is a seat shortage, action will be taken after the completion of the third allotment. However, the practice of cramming more children into existing batches is not a real solution to the problem. It will only lead to a deterioration in the quality of teaching and learning in the higher secondary sector. The government must put an end to the anomaly of allowing additional batches as and when required. Batches lying vacant without students in various districts should be reallocated to areas where there are not enough seats. Steps should also be taken to upgrade more government high schools in districts facing seat shortages to higher secondary schools. The government must ensure that there will never again be a situation where students have to protest for a seat after starting their studies. It is time for everyone to stand united and raise their voices, realizing that this is not just a regional issue of Malabar but a violation of social and general justice.

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TAGS:SSLCKerala governmentKerala Higher EducationPlus One seats
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