Hartals are degrading the quality of education imparted to over 50 lakh children in schools across the state, said the Kerala Federation of CBSE and ICSE schools.
Calling for educational institutions to be included in the list of most essential services, the federation has appealed to all political parties to exclude schools from the frequent shutdowns across the state. The federation chairman T P M Ibrahim Khan said with a frequency of close to 90 hartals a year, schools are only being able to function properly for 190 days, compared to the minimum requirement of 220 days, recommended for a holistic coverage of the prescribed syllabus.
“If we are not able to complete the minimum target of working days, completing the syllabus will be a tough task and students won’t be equipped to compete with students from other states in various all-India examinations,” said Khan. He added this is not a deficiency with CBSE/ICSE schools, but also with state government schools, whose standards are fast dropping.
The federation, in collaboration with various parent teachers management associations, is hoping to kick-start a mass campaign highlighting the urgency of the matter and to make schools functioning during shutdowns.
“If we could get over 15,000 school buses belonging to near-1400 CBSE, ICSE and un-aided schools running on a hartal day and encourage parents to send their kids to school, we can ensure an operational day,” said the chairman.
The federation also demanded the state provide schools with adequate police protection during hartals so that they are allowed to function, no matter what. The federation quoted the example of Malappuram where 80 per cent of schools functioned during the January 3 hartal.
“A consensus was reached with various political parties to leave out schools in the district, which enabled the institutions to function. We would like to see similar initiatives spring up across the state,” said a federation representative.
Going forward, the federation is planning to approach the court, forming a collective of all educational institutions in the state to bring about an enabling environment for its smooth functioning.
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