For a state that pins much pride on its education, Kerala seems to be on a regressive path, with legal battles being waged in the high court on its Plus-two policy and a number of universities and its heads embroiled in various kinds of controversies. The government cut a sorry figure this week when the court seemed to give precedence to proposals by a panel headed by director of higher secondary education over the recommendations of the cabinet sub-committee about the vexing issue of Plus-two batches and schools thereof. Sure, chief minister Oommen Chandy tried to put up a brave front and expressed displeasure over the court decision, asking what was the need of a democratic government if the court thought the HSE director’s should be the last word on the topic.
It is hard to digest this line of thought as even the assembly petitions committee had stated that the batches were allotted without any scientific study. Add to that the additional load of `235 crore a month on the exchequer and the stark picture is complete. Curiously, it was the Muslim Education Society that came first up with allegations of corruption in allotting new batches. This week, there were two separate incidents involving the top brass of two leading universities, underlining the woes that have beset the education sector.
On Monday, the vice chancellor and the Syndicate members of Calicut University came to blows during a meeting even as two syndicate members in Kochi, one of them a Congress MLA, got physical right in front of the chief minister’s room. While education has always had a political colour in the state, what is happening now transgresses all limits as the chief minister seems ready at every turn to accommodate all sorts of demands from the Muslim League, the second strongest ally in the UDF, which also handles the education portfolio. Clearly, it is time for Kerala to re-evaluate its priorities as recent happenings are not in sync with its goal of emerging a global brand in education by 2030.