The state government on Friday submitted before the High Court that it had decided to open new higher secondary schools and additional batches in eight northern districts to reduce the imbalance in the existing facilities for higher studies.
In an affidavit, General Education Department Additional Secretary P M Thomas submitted that sanction of new HSS and more batches comes within the realm of the government. It filed the affidavit through Special Government Pleader T T Muhamood on a petition by Mannam Memorial HSS manager B Unnikrishnan Nair and others challenging the government order. The government has decided that HSS would be sanctioned in 148 grama panchayats where there were no existing HSS either in government or aided sector. It was also ordered that new HSS and additional batches would be sanctioned in eight northern districts starting from Ernakulam to Kasaragod.
“There is no regional imbalance in sanctioning HSS,” the state said before the court. The state made it clear that nobody has any fundamental right to seek sanctioning of Plus-Two courses in their schools, especially in the aided sector. “As a matter of policy, the government decided to ensure an HSS in each panchayat in a phased manner. The total batches so sanctioned will be 296. Out of these, 194 batches will be in the panchayats in southern districts. Apart from that, new courses and additional batches will be granted in eight northern districts,” an affidavit pointed out.
There are 1,822 HSS in the state and total number of seats in the schools is 3,35,400. Apart from Plus-Two courses, students can also join other courses like VHSC, polytechnic, ITI and ITC, for which there are 98,169 seats in the state. This year, 4,48,661 students passed SSLC examination.
According to the data with the government, there were shortage of seats in HSS in northern districts. At the same time there were surplus seats in southern districts. It also pointed out that in Malappuram, the shortage was 13,673, while in Thrissur 2,291 and in Kozhikode 4,801. In Ernakulam, 39,199 students became eligible for higher studies while seats available for various courses were just 38,869. In Palakkad, the shortage was 5,949, and in Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod it was 1,731, 2,592 and 3,457.