Right to Education: Kerala Moves Ahead with New Initiatives
Kerala, the land of lush backwaters and high literacy rate, figures in the news, this time, for its ‘bold moves’ in the field of education. The state boasts a literacy rate of 90.92 percent and a dropout rate of 0.83 percent. Socially relevant, the next three stories reflect well on Kerala. One by one, lets understand how the right to education is translated into initiatives by the government of Kerala.
Right to Education: Importance Given to Teaching Malayalam in Schools
The right to education is a fundamental right. Kerala has 12,649 schools, with 4501 being government schools, 7284 being aided and 864 unaided. A good number of these schools do not encourage teaching Malayalam though it is not officially put across. The practice of punishing children for speaking in Malayalam, which is the state language, has been a topic of great debate in the state’s cultural and social platforms. Taking the concept of education to connect with the state’s official language, M.A. Baby - the Kerala Education Minister, on June 2010, announced the government’s plans to act against schools that do not offer Malayalam as a subject. The Education Minister M.A. Baby announced this while inaugurating the new academic session 2010-2011 in a Kerala school. In the new session, schools in Kerala will be also stressing on sports, with arrangements are being made for swimming and traditional Kalari lessons. This is a clear departure from the traditional approach of education in the state, where the stress has been solely on academic performance.
Right to Education: Separate Policy for ICT in Education
The Kerala government has proposed to introduce a separate policy for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education. This will be relevant at both national and international levels. The Education Minister M.A. Baby announced this while inaugurating an international conference organized by the UNESCO and IT@School (a Kerala government initiative). The IT@School is the technology arm of the Kerala education department that imparts ICT-enabled education for students. It imparts four modes of e-learning: direct, interactive, online and broadcasting. For ICT-enabled education, the government plans to electrify all the state classrooms by 2012. A progressive approach to education is what today’s children demand and require for their growth and career prospects.
Right to Education: Education Aid for Children of Jail Inmates
The Kerala Home Minster, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan announced the government’s plan to offer financial assistance for educating jail inmates’ kids. The Minister said this while inaugurating a surveillance system at the Kannur jail. Again, this is a progressive approach to spreading education to all sections of the society, particularly those who are grappling with considerable difficulties in getting decent education. The details of implementation of this policy are expected to be well defined after a high level meeting in July 2010. This move is expected to benefit the kids of more than 6,550 inmates languishing in different Kerala jails.