Kerala: Minister's remarks on SSLC exam standards spark controversy in Kerala

Saji Cherian said many years ago, it was tough to even score the minimum pass mark in the SSLC exam, but now, everybody was clearing the examination, making it more or less like an “all-pass” exam.
Kerala state Cultural Affairs Minister Saji Cherian
Kerala state Cultural Affairs Minister Saji CherianPhoto | Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cultural Affairs Minister Saji Cherian has kicked up a row with his remark that many students who pass the SSLC examinations do not have the skills to read or write properly. The remark was quickly refuted by General Education Minister V Sivankutty who claimed the state had excelled in many of the Union government’s development parameters in the school education sector.

At a programme in Alappuzha on Saturday, Cherian said many years ago, it was tough to even score the minimum pass mark in the SSLC exam, but now, everybody was clearing the examination, making it more or less like an “all-pass” exam.

“But, a significant percentage of them do not know how to read or write properly,” he said. “If anybody fails in the examination, it would be portrayed as the failure of the state government”, he added.

Cherian said that while a liberal evaluation for SSLC examinations may be good for the government, he added that Sivankutty was striving to bring changes to it. After Cherian’s comments triggered a row, Sivankutty issued a statement on Sunday, saying his cabinet colleague’s critical observations were “devoid of facts”.

“While there are demands for improving the standards of school education, agencies under the General Education Department have been implementing various schemes to realise that objective,” Sivankutty said.

He said only certain remarks from Cherian’s speech were highlighted to create a controversy. “The minister’s whole speech was aimed at elevating the state’s school education sector to even higher levels,” he added.

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