THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Much has been said about the burgeoning number of ‘uneconomic schools’ in the state, which do not have even 60 students on the rolls, but nothing much has been done to improve their condition.
Now, in a first-of-its-kind initiative in the state, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has come out with an ambitious project titled ‘Mission 2015’ aimed at improving the infrastructure and teaching quality of government and aided schools facing acute student shortage.
According to statistics available with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, there are 3,523 schools in the state which have been classified as ‘uneconomic’ with Kannur topping the list with 450 schools. Through ‘Mission 2015’, the SSA state unit wants to ensure that at least 1,000 schools are able to drop their ‘uneconomic’ tag by the next academic year.
“It is an ambitious project which will involve the participation of various stakeholders, including local bodies and NGOs, and even individuals interested in improving the condition of schools in their neighbourhood.
The basic idea is to improve the infrastructure and teaching quality of schools which have been neglected for years as uneconomic,’’ E P Mohandas, State Project Director, SSA-Kerala, told ‘Express’.
The Centre’s 19th Joint Review Mission of SSA in Kerala had noted that the trend of students shifting from government to private (unaided) schools was on the rise. It was the Joint Review Mission’s directive to the SSA state unit to devise ‘’appropriate strategies’’ that led to ‘Focus 2015’ project being devised.
According to the project draft, detailed and case-specific development plans will be charted for individual schools after assessing the reasons for the drop in the number of students over the years.
A series of seminars will be held to improve the quality of teaching in these schools. The services of Block Resource Coordinators will also be effectively utilised for ‘Mission 2015’.
The project also plans to identify and rope in local academic talents around the schools. Focus will also be given on using multimedia such as educational CDs, to make learning an interesting process.
The project also suggests imparting special training to the students in such schools so that they can effectively tackle competitive examinations.
The project also gives emphasis to improving reading and writing skills of students in Classes I and II. In the Upper Primary level, General Science, Mathematics and English will be the focus areas.
Another important aspect of the project is the improvement of physical infrastructure in schools such as labs, libraries and toilets.
‘’All activities as part of Mission 2015 will be periodically monitored and recorded to assess the efficacy of the project.
“The mission can be considered a success if at least 1,000 schools are able to shed the uneconomic tag by 2015,’’ Mohandas said.