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No commitment on upgrading schools

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 3. The Education Minister, E.T. Mohammed Basheer, today did not make any commitment on upgrading of lower and upper primary schools in the hill and backward areas in Malabar.

Replying to a calling attention motion of the IUML member C. Mammutty in the Assembly, Mr. Basheer was willing to go to the extent of stating that the Government would consider utilising various Central schemes to upgrade the LP and UP schools. He indicated that the UDF Government was incurring huge additional expenditure on meeting the salary commitments of Plus Two teachers, which came to around Rs.250 crores to Rs.300 crores annually. In addition, the Government had to pay up the commitment of the previous LDF Government which had sanctioned four posts of lab assistants in the schools, inviting a financial commitment of Rs.45 crores.

Mr. Basheer said that the Government wanted to give priority to upgradation of special schools meant for the hearing impaired, visually challenged and mentally retarded. It wanted to ensure that the facilities available in such schools were improved. The Minister said the Government would also probe new avenues for mobilising Central funds for the UP and LP schools, including those under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan scheme.

The Minister informed the House that the State had registered its protest to the University Grants Commission, which, in one of its surveys had mentioned that there was no backward district in Kerala.

Mr. Mammutty wanted the State Government to upgrade these upper and lower primary schools. His contention was that unless the Government took proper care of the lower classes, there was no point in talking about an information technology revolution and Kerala's human resource wealth.

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