THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has sanctioned 97 new higher secondary Plus-I batches on a temporary basis in six northern districts of the state to address the Plus-I seat shortage. The newly allotted batches include 17 in science subjects, 52 in humanities and 28 in commerce.
Of the 97 newly sanctioned batches, 53 are in Malappuram district which has the maximum number of applicants awaiting Plus-I seat allotment. A total of 5,820 new Plus-I seats will be created in the Malabar region through the sanctioning of the new batches, General Education Minister V Sivankutty said, adding that Malappuram alone will get 3,180 more seats.
The five other districts that have been sanctioned additional batches are: Palakkad (four batches, 240 seats); Kozhikode (11 batches, 650 seats); Wayanad (four batches, 240 seats); Kannur (10 batches, 600 seats) and Kasaragod (15 batches, 900 seats).
With the new batch allotment, government schools will get 3,420 and aided schools will get 2,400 more seats. When the second supplementary allotment was completed, 3.76 lakh students had secured admission in various schools of which 2.92 lakh were in the merit quota.
However, 15,784 applicants from northern districts, including 8,338 from Malappuram, were still awaiting allotment, prompting the government to sanction the new batches. The general education department will invite applications for school/combination change on July 29 for vacant merit seats after the second supplementary allotment, unfilled seats in management quota and also the newly created seats in 97 batches. Another supplementary allotment will be carried out at a later stage for students who have not got admission after school/combination change, the minister promised.
Minister rebuts charge
Quoting official statistics, General Education Minster V Sivankutty rejected the allegation that there weren’t enough Plus-I seats in Malappuram. The minister said that a total of 11,873 students from the district had secured an A+ in all subjects in the SSLC exam. The number of Higher Secondary Plus I seats in the districts across all subject combinations in government and aided schools was 54,950. In Science subjects alone, the district had 23,570 seats, the minister said.
“If VHSE, Polytechnic and ITIs are considered, the district has 61,027 seats. The total number of seats would come up to over 75,000 if unaided higher secondary schools, self-financing polytechnic colleges and private ITIs are also factored in,” the minister said. He added that with the sanctioning of 97 additional batches on a temporary basis, Malappuram now has 78,374 seats without considering CBSE schools that offer Plus-II courses.
The minister flayed a section of people who used the Plus-I seat issue for political motives. He added that the UDF, which laments that students in Malappuram have to rely on unaided private schools, was instrumental in sanctioning 90% of such schools in the district. He also questioned the contributions of UDF ally Muslim League to Malappuram’s educational sector during the 15 years after 1990 when it controlled the education portfolio.