THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This academic year has many firsts to its credit. After a gap of several years, textbooks - which used to be distributed halfway into the academic year - have reached schools well in time. Computers will become an integral study tool for students from Class I to X, thanks to an ambitious Rs 400-crore project to turn 45,000 classrooms hi-tech during the current academic year.
When the LDF Government assumed power, it had declared its plan to upgrade academic standards in government and aided schools to meet international standards. Around 1,000 schools are in the process of preparing master plans to achieve the objective. The project to improve the standards of these schools would incur an expense of Rs 200 crore.
“With these novel initiatives, there will be a tremendous improvement in quality in the general education sector,” says Education Minister C Raveendranath. “Close to 1.5 lakh teachers have also been imparted ICT training to keep up with technological advancements.” Making Malayalam compulsory in all schools up to Class X, though in a graded manner, is another achievement cited by the government on the education front. Sceptic Voices However, the government’s ambitious plans are viewed with scepticism by former Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb.
According to him, converting classrooms into hi-tech ones looks promising on paper but is fraught with a lot of practical difficulties. “When it comes to improving the physical infrastructure of schools, the government has chosen to shift its responsibility to local bodies, MPs, MLAs, Parent Teacher Associations and philanthropists.
This may lead to unequal development of schools,” he cautioned. Abdu Rabb also picked holes in the government’s claim of timely distribution of text books.“As opposed to previous years, books are now being printed in two to three volumes. Only the first volume has reached the schools. Delay in distribution happened during an academic year under the UDF Government’s tenure as the entire text books from Classes I to XII were revised. The present government is just undertaking a re-print job,” he said.