THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Allaying concerns over the delay in the second phase of printing and distribution of textbooks in schools, Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb said on Tuesday the printing and distribution processes would be completed by September 30 and October 15 respectively.
At a ‘meet-the-press’ programme organised by the Press Club here, Abdu Rabb said that the textbooks printed in the second phase were needed in schools only by November 1. The minister said that he had chaired two rounds of meetings to review the progress of the second phase of printing and distribution.
To a query about the delay in the distribution of school textbooks in the first phase, Rabb said that the delay occurred due to the lapses on the part of the Printing and Stationary Department headed by Minister K P Mohanan.
“There were lapses on the part of the Printing and Stationery Department in processing the files regarding procurement of paper. Also, repeated queries put up by the Finance Department on the files further delayed the process,” Abdu Rabb said.
The Education Minister said that he would soon make public the details of a report on the lapses in the declaration of SSLC results. “The committee constituted to inquire into what went wrong with the SSLC results has submitted its report to the government. The report has pointed out several lapses at various stages,” Abdu Rabb said. “There were anomalies right from the stage of answer script valuation. Also, an entirely new team of officials was at the helm at Pareeksha Bhavan during the conduct of the examination,” the minister said, adding that he had never exerted pressure on the officials to declare the results on April 16.
When asked about the Kerala State Higher Education Council constituting an expert panel to study the feasibility of sanctioning private universities in the state, the Education Minister said he was “personally against the proposal”. “In the present scenario, the situation is not favourable for setting up private universities. However, it is for the Cabinet and UDF to take a final decision,” he said. The minister also clarified that he was not aware of the KSHEC’s decision to constitute a panel to study the feasibility of starting private universities. KSHEC vice-chairman T P Sreenivasan had earlier claimed that the panel was constituted keeping the Education Minister in the loop.
To a query on why the minister excused himself from lighting the traditional lamp during functions when his party and Cabinet colleague M K Muneer has no reservations on the matter, Rabb said that he was following the precedent set by the Muslim League ministers over the years.
Rabb also said that controversies, including those over the re-naming of his official residence, were aimed at giving him a ‘communal tag’.