Thiruvananthapuram: Even as the final report by M M Khader Committee studying the School Education reforms is yet to be submitted, State Education Minister V Sivankutty declared that the recommendations in the preliminary report would be implemented by the Government this year itself.
The Minister, speaking during a press meet here, said that a special rule formation would soon be done as many of the recommendations are already being implemented. Though the Minister stated so, the press handout released by his office says, “Necessary action would be taken after the Core committee formed to coordinate matters including the formation of the special rule, files the final report.”
To the question on when the final report is expected, the Minister said, “it would come”. While it was pointed out that it has been four and a half years since the committee was formed, Sivankutty said, “this cannot be done like making dosas.” It was a few days ago that the term of the committee, which was formed in September 2017 for a 3-month period, was extended for the 7 th time. The renewed term is to end on September 30.
The Committee had filed its preliminary report in January 2019.
The main recommendation in the report was to unify the classes from first through tenth, higher secondary and vocational higher secondary departments under one directorate. Other recommendations supplementing the unification included the appointment of the Principal as the School Head for the Higher Secondary Schools and renaming High School Head Master as the Vice Principal.
The Minister said the Government has agreed to it and the Department has started implementing it through Kerala Education Rules (KER) reformation. The teachers would not face any problems because of the same. The recommendations implemented are those that would improve the academic standards, Sivankutty said.
Although the Directorate has become one, the unification has not trickled down to the lower levels completely. Confusion regarding other designations and determining the service prevail. Clarity on the same can be achieved through the second report. The teachers’ associations led by the Opposition parties are also against the unification decision pointing out that it is better to wait till the final report is submitted.
Gender auditing in textbooks: Minister
Education Minister V Sivankutty said that gender auditing would be conducted to examine whether the school textbooks contain portions which are gender discriminatory.
He said the Government is not to impose gender-neutral uniforms in schools. The Schools can choose uniforms which are widely accepted and comfortable for the children to wear. If it is debated upon, the Education Department would examine and decide on the same.
All girls-only and boys-only schools cannot be converted to mixed schools in one go. There are 381 such schools in the State. The Department would approve the conversion, if the schools approach the Education department with the approval from the PTA and Local Self Governance institution, after examining the basic facilities and considering how it would affect other schools.
Though the Education department’s direction to determine whether girls and boys can be seated next to each other in the class has not come to his notice, Sivankutty stated that there is no harm in children sitting next to each other.
This direction is mentioned in the note issued to the Curriculum Core Committee for the discussion on School Curriculum Framework formation.
General Education department Principal Secretary Mohammed Hanish clarified that this is being discussed as part of the focus points put forth by the National Education Policy.