Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 25 July 2024 5.51 AM IST

Is Kerala's literacy rate a sham? Minister Sivankutty's revelation sparks debate


Last year, the pass percentage in the 10th class examination was 99.69 per cent in Kerala. The numbers give a wider image of the touted literacy rate in the state. However, the recent revelations made by Minister V Sivankutty are something that shadows the celebrated educational prowess of the state. Is the whole hullabaloo over education in Kerala a sham?

The revelation from the minister came during a conclave conducted by the education department in Kerala, which discussed ways to impose minimum marks for passing class 10 to better the quality of public education.

Unfortunately, the pro-government teachers’ association and the students’ union have already raised their disapproval of the comments made by the education minister of Kerala. The strangest of all is the reason floated by the unions against the minister, which is nothing but bonkers.

“Failing students of financially burdened families will create a marginalized society! “; what eulogy do these unions and teachers deserve?

But when questions are raised about the depleting academic standards of students despite scoring high in exams, all these unions and teachers' associations turn out to be mute spectators. In the conclave, Minister V. Sivankutty explained the circumstances under which the assessment method needs to be revised. Children from Kerala generally lag in national entrance exams. Even the top ten rank students in the state fail when it comes to cracking the national-level entrance exams.

To have such an adroit level of capability; students should be made to work on ways to improve their intellectual ability, memory and creativity. However, people destined to torment these plans have a lethal weapon in hand: “SC, ST communities will suffer.”

The clarion calls of ‘SC ST sufferings’ are plain politics being played behind the veneer of generosity. The students from these communities don’t want any generosity or freebies to succeed. Just provide better educational facilities, support and financial assistance, and it will be enough to ensure social equality. However, the political parties of Kerala picture students from these communities as vulnerable and empty-headed when it comes to academics.

The minister has also called out the contrarian voices standing against the reforms. If there is a fall in the standards of our students despite their soaring marks in state exams, surely there is something out of place. Not just the students, but the quality of teachers should also be put to the test.

The ideas of the conclave of the Public Education Department will be discussed by the Curriculum Committee and submitted to the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister who strives to create a ‘New Kerala’ might make the necessary introduction by his own volition. Kerala needs to unite and support the evaluation reform targeted by the Minister of Public Education.

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