Kerala not to take over 35 schools
Chief Minister says the financial burden on government will be huge
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday ruled out a government takeover of the controversial 35 schools, which are proposed to be shifted to the aided sector, due to the huge financial burden the government would incur by paying compensation to the promoting agencies.
Replying to questions at a post-Cabinet meeting here on Wednesday, Mr. Chandy reiterated the position he had taken in the Assembly earlier, stating that the former Education Minister M.A. Baby, shortly before laying down office, had recommended conversion of these schools to the aided sector. He said that all the main decisions relating to the status of these schools — be it payment of salary and dearness allowance or retaining them in the aided sector — had been taken during the tenures of E.K. Nayanar and V.S. Achuthanandan. The file was now being scrutinised by the Finance Department, the recommendations of which would be discussed in the United Democratic Front. On closer examination, it was found that only 33 schools were functioning. The Chief Minister sought to dispel the impression that these schools were located in Malappuram. He wondered about the motivation behind the campaign that these schools were located in one district.
In the Assembly
Earlier in the day, Mr. Chandy assured the Assembly that the government would examine, in the light of the objections raised by the Opposition, its decision to give ‘government-aided’ status to the schools. The Cabinet decision to convert these schools into government-aided schools had given rise to the Opposition allegation that it was to favour persons associated with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the party holding the Education portfolio. The Opposition had boycotted the Assembly towards the fag end of Tuesday’s sitting on this issue.
Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan raised the issue once again through a submission on Wednesday. He said there was lack of clarity about the decision the Cabinet had taken in the matter.
The Chief Minister’s website had said the government had decided to take over these schools. But Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb had come on record stating that the Cabinet had decided to give these schools ‘government-aided’ status (which meant the schools would remain in the private sector, with the managements having the power to appoint staff, while the salaries would be paid by the government).
Mr. Chandy said the efforts to give these schools full-fledged government-aided status had actually commenced during the time of the previous government led by the Left Democratic Front. He read out certain notes M.A. Baby, the then Education Minister, had written in a file asking the officials to “examine what all stipulations should be imposed [on the school managements]” in the event the schools were given ‘government-aided’ status.
Short URL: http://www.cckerala.com/?p=12209