Breaking down the Kerala plus two controversy
news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
Siddharth Mohan Nair| The News Minute| September 1, 2014| 7.00 pm IST A division bench of the Kerala High Court comprising of Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu has today given its verdict cancelling some of the schools and batches which the government had recommended for offering plus one and plus two classes. The court also rejected the claims made by the state government supporting its decision. The verdict has come as a setback to the state government. The government had, a week before, earned the wrath of the HC for not submitting adequate documents pertaining to its decision on increasing the number of higher secondary schools in the state and also the number of batches in existing schools.Â What the controversy is all about Since last year over 30,000 students who had completed their tenth standard in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools had applied for admissions for plus one and plus two in the state board schools. To accommodate the high influx of students which was over six times higher than the previous years, the Cabinet had set up a sub-committee under the Education Minister Mr P.K. Abdu Rabb. The sub-committee had recommended 700 new batches and many new schools. However, an expert committee of six members headed by the Higher Secondary Education (HSE) Director opined that not all the schools recommended by the sub-committee had adequate resources to provide plus one and plus two education.Â The Muslim Education Society (MES) and many other educational institutions had approached the court seeking a stay order into the sub-committeeâ€™s decision which they claimed were not done in a transparent manner. Following the petitions filed by over 80 institutions, a single judge had heard the case and ordered that the state government sanction only those schools and batches that the expert committee under the HSE Director had recommended.Â The government had then appealed to the divisional bench of the HC challenging the single judgeâ€™s order stating that the governmentâ€™s side was not heard. The Advocate General Mr K.P. Dandapani, appearing for the state government told the bench that the cabinet sub-committee had powers to over ride the decisions of the expert committee, and hence there was no illegality. When the bench sought explanation from the AG on the complaint that the schools were recommended not based on any merit, the AG replied that the decision was taken after consulting the MLAs of respective areas.Â The bench today dismissed the plea made before it by the state government and cancelled 10 schools of the 131 schools in the panchayat areas that were recommended by the government. It also said that only 188 batches that the expert committee had recommended could be sanctioned.Â The verdict has come as a political setback to the state government whose Chief Minister has already been named in the Titanium scam. Pinarayi Vijayan of the LDF has demanded that the Chief Minister resign immediately.Â This decision by the court will now make way for private schools to charge exorbitant capitation fee for those additional students.Â
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