The Kerala SSLC pass percentage crossed the mark of 99% for the first time in 2021. Over 1.2 lakh students got A+ in all subjects, out of the four lakh plus students who appeared for the exams. The figure of A plus scorers shows a tremendous jump this time, as last year they numbered less than 42,000. But when combined with the state government’s decision against starting new batches for plus one, the plus one allotment of students has turned out to be the messiest this year. After publishing the first and second allotments, students who got A+ in all subjects have not been fully occupied in the lists, nor have they got admissions for their best choices. And worst of all, students yet to be accommodated into our schools run into six-digit figures, while only 655 seats remain to be filled.

As the government is adamant about not starting new batches in higher secondary, citing the financial strains due to Covid situations, children and parents are anxious about the future. Educational Minister’s press release states that 39,489 students have applied for admission in other districts along with their district. Reducing this from the total of 4,65,219 applications for plus one, 4,25,730 applicants are in the scramble for admissions to the 2,70,188 seats in plus one. Of this, 2,01,489 students got admission in the first allotment and  68,048 got seats in the second. Yet, more than 1.5 lakh students seem to be in the ambiguity of getting excluded from allotments. The situation is particularly bad in the northern districts, though these include the districts with the highest pass percentage (Kannur) and full A plus scorers (Malappuram). This regional disparity had been an issue in the previous years as well.

Rather than starting new batches,the  government has allowed an increase of seats in seven districts. 20% of seats will be increased in the government and aided higher secondary schools of Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Kasaragod, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur. But this doesn’t solve the issue, and as the numbers go up, the quality of learning could be affected. Stretching the capacity of classes would lead to cramming students into the classrooms, which is most undesirable amidst the pandemic.

The issue has been raised in the State Legislative Assembly on October 4th by MLA Shafi Parambil, from the UDF, as an adjournment motion. The education minister V Sivankutty denied the possibility of a crisis citing that the Vocational and Polytechnical/ITI seats would add up to more than a lakh when combined with the seats available in higher secondary alone be enough. The speaker denied the adjournment after the minister explained. Protesting against this, the Opposition walked out of the Assembly. On October 6th, the Educational Minister had issued a press release to reassure the parents and children that no student would be left out of the allotments. It states that, though there are effectively 4,25,730 applications, as per the admission rate in the last five years, only 3,85,530 applicants are likely to seek admission this year.

The Minister lays hope on the community quota seats, management quota seats in aided schools and admission in unaided schools. Based on the press release of the education Minister, a total of 1,22,384 seats are expected to be available in the state after converting the vacant seats and sports quota seats to general merit quota seats, apart from the Vocational/ITI seats. But students, teachers and parents haven’t been convinced by these promises, and doubts are cast over whether all our pass outs would get to continue their schooling itself. The Opposition walked out of the Assembly for the second time on 11th October.

‘My daughter studies very well. She also did well in the school Kalotsavam, and won third prize with an A grade for Arabic kadhaprasangam (poetic story presentation). But, her name isn’t there in the allotment lists so far. We don’t know what to do next.’ – said the mother of Ayesha, a full A plus scorer from Kodungallur. Despite surviving the pains of the pandemic and online classes, the children are on the verge of being left with harsh choices. Switching to unaided schools, or getting admission under the  management quota isn’t easy for students from poor backgrounds. Hence the repercussions of the seat shortage would lead to a range from the difficulties in getting schools and courses of their choice, to having to shift to open schooling at the worst.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here