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Kerala schools with no students on the rise

Thiruvananthapuram, June 10 (): Kerala has 5137 schools that are termed uneconomic. Seven out of them do not have a single student and ten of them have only one student.

Kerala which is rated as a 100% literate state is witnessing students shifting from Government and State- aided schools to privately-run schools and most of them follow the CBSE or ICSE syllabus.

As per a Kerala General Education department circular issued in 2012, a school starting with primary class to tenth standard should have a total strength of 60, on an average of 15 students in a classroom. Anything below this is termed uneconomic. The tally of uneconomic schools in 2011-12 was 4,614.

All India Save Education, an NGO gathered this information through an RTI. Out of 4614 schools termed uneconomic, 2,577 schools in Kerala have less than 50 students. Out of this, Kerala government-run schools number 1217 and private schools with financial grants from Kerala government account for 1360. 109 schools have less than 10 students. Majority of these schools are in North Kerala districts like Kannur, Kozhikode and Pathanamthitta in Central Kerala.

Even though educationists have pointed that the Kerala syllabus is inadequate to coach students opting for professorial courses, the subsequent governments have done nothing to revise it.

Entrance examination results show that CBSE and ICSE students fare better than their counterparts in Kerala government schools. Poor maintenance of buildings, indiscriminate sanctioning of schools to please political leaders is yet another reason.

Many of the aided schools in uneconomic list are now lobbying to get a closure certificate so that they could sell the land got virtually free at market rates. Kerala government had some time back decided that it would not close down any school for want of students as it would affect the livelihood of teaching staff.