Published: 07th December 2021
Why the decision to close down a Kakkanad govt school to set up a Kendriya Vidyalaya instead has irked parents
The institution, which began as an aided school set up by the panchayat, today, is a government school that falls under the jurisdiction of the department of general education. It was set up in 1958
Even as the Kerala government is promoting general education, a lower primary school in Kakkanad, Ernakulam district, faces a closure threat. The school, with a total strength of 171 students in the pre-primary and lower primary sections, is not under threat due to a dip in the number of admissions. Its existence is threatened by a move to hand over its building and the surrounding land to set up a Kendriya Vidyalaya.
The institution, which began as an aided school set up by the panchayat, today, is a government school that falls under the jurisdiction of the department of general education. It was set up in 1958. The school was called Nava Keralam Panchayat LP School and functioned out of a small building on the premises of the civil station, informed Rajesh Babu, President, Parent Teachers Association (PTA).
According to Rajesh, the school was later shifted to its present location and was renamed after former panchayat president MA Aboobacker. Until 2010, the school was maintained and run by the panchayat. However, in 2010, after a GO (government order) was issued bringing all panchayat schools under the general education department, this institution was also converted into a government school, he added.
One of the parents mentioned that the school is located in a prime spot with easy access to transportation. "The students who study here are not from financially sound families. I am a carpenter. People like me can only afford to send our kids to government schools. The school also caters to the children of migrant labourers. The parents question the district administration's move to hand over the building and the land of a school that is running successfully to set up a Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV). The school falls under the general education department. How come the district administration is making decisions?" questioned a parent.
Rajesh also pointed out that an order had been passed about 12 years ago regarding the setting up of a KV in Kakkanad. "The government had also earmarked more than two acres of land for it. As per the officials, the land earmarked is a marshy one and it would take years to finish the construction of the school building for the KV. So, they want to use our building or set up another building on the school premises," said Rajesh.
"If so, where will our kids go? The district administration says that the kids will be absorbed into the KV. But that will be just for those in the primary section. So, what about the next generation of students? Don't they need a place to further their education? We also know that only 5 per cent seats are allotted to the students of parents who are not employed by the central government," asked a parent.
Highlighting their plight, the parents have now approached the court. "We decided on this course of action after our pleas fell on deaf ears. We have to safeguard our kids' right to education,” said Rajesh. The PTA also pointed out many precedents where promises to absorb the students from government schools into KVs have fallen flat.
District Collector Jaffar Malik said, “The state government's decision regarding this is yet to be arrived at. However, it will be ensured that those children get continuous education."