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Centre for Public Policy Research

FEBRUARY
MIND
TEXT
MINDTEXT FEBRUARY‘07
Volume-2
Issue-2

CPPR is not responsible for the


views expressed in this journal.
Authors own responsibility for their articles

Editor : Hariprasad R.C.


Layout & Design : T.V.Vinu

SEARCH
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Y
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PUB
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CENTRE F

Centre for Public Policy Research


Vaikom Road, Cochin
Kerala, India - 682 301
www.cpprindia.org
E-mail : program@cpprindia.org
CONTENTS

EDITORIAL 4

REALITY CHECK 5
UNECONOMIC SHOOLS OF KERALA

RAW 9

WAKE UP 11

JAM 11

REFLECTIONS 12

PHOTO GALLERY 13

REVERBERATIONS 15

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
EDITORIAL
The D-Day was over on the second week of this month. Come
February and the prices of flowers, gifts, and cards climb to all
time high year after year. But none have any complaints.
After all everything is fair in love and war. Whether the month
offers memorable or forgettable experiences is more often
than not directly proportional to the money spent for the
specials - special gifts, special dinner, special bouquet, and
special what-not. One thing is for sure, the cash registers are
ringing all around. Hmm….time seems to be ripe for some
'lovely' musings!!!

If you are wondering whether this editorial is going to be a

SOME moral battleground against the lovers, then you are wrong. In
fact, this is all about celebrating love, meaningfully. And if the
Romeos & Juliets out there want some food for thought read

'LOVELY' on.

Quotes are aplenty if one wants to describe love. One may get

MUSINGS scores of definitions for love which may even convey


contrasting meanings. Yet there is no end to the use of some of
those well known ones like, “Everything is fair in love and
war”, “God is love”, etc. Phrases and definitions apart, how
many of us have ever thought about what is the nature of love.
Is it just something that can happen only between opposite sexes? What is the best possible way to love
somebody? Is it possible to love someone without getting ourselves hurt?

Today most people love on a contract basis. The amount of love given to someone is often directly
proportional to the love returned. Then there are instances when we love someone so passionately but
the other person does not reciprocate it. Naturally, we feel hurt and cheated. The problem with this
kind of loving is that one wants to barter away ones love for some in return. When the return is absent
agitations rage the heart and the mind is confused.

We must realize that love follows the language of the heart and not of the market. Today most of us are
waiting to be loved by someone. Even an ardent "lover" who proposes spilling those magical words “I
love you” means nothing but “Please love me”. This predicament has come over the young and the old
alike. Now, consider this simple logic. If the majority in this world were living as mere passive lovers,
waiting for the love to dawn on them what would an intelligent young man or woman desiring love do?

Which is the wiser choice -waiting for love (passive) or to start loving others (active)? Whom will you
choose - someone who begs for love or someone who is dynamically showering love over those around
him or her? Who will get more love - the passive lover or the active lover? So if the excitement or hang
over of the D-Day is over take time to ponder of over this question, “Am I a mere beggar of love?”

Think!

Let us realize that we have not come into this world to beg for love but to shower infinite love to those
around us! Let us not be just another passive lover but be an active and dynamic lover!

Love,

Editor

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
REALITY CHECK

UNECONOMIC
SCHOOLS
OF KERALA
- D.Dhanuraj -

Literacy has been the bench mark for the qualitative development that any society has achieved.
It is the major component of human resource development and the basic to any socio, economic
and political programme. Over the years, Kerala has shown tremendous growth in this respect.
National literacy rate is 65.31 percent according to census 2001, while that of Kerala 90.92
percent. The male and female literacy rates are 94.2 percent and 87.86 percent respectively. It
is significant to note that regional and gender disparities in literacy rate are low in Kerala.

The gain in literacy rate in Kerala can be attributed to many factors but the most significant
among them is the prevalence of schools at every nook and corner of the state. More than the
Government schools, it has been the success of the private educational agencies managed
schools played an important role in achieving the total literacy rate in Kerala. In real economic
terms, it provided more number of schools thus offering competition and thus improvement to
the sector. The state has a history about two centuries of private edupreneurs. The famous
Education bill of 1957 legalised the role of private school management. Three categories have
come into being; Government, Aided (Government paid the salary of the staff members of the
private school) and Unaided (Management of the school has to meet the salary requirement of
the teachers though the school is recognised). A healthy competition among these three
categories proven to be a better market oriented solution to many issues faced in the education
sector like infrastructure facilities, quality of the education and enrolment rate of the children.
Teaching has become the most sought out profession in Kerala while Education sector evolved
into a major service sector activity.
1
The wide spread educational infrastructure facilitated easy access to Lower Primary (LP), Upper
Primary (UP) and High School (HS) education in Kerala. 94.39 percent of the rural population is
served by primary schools within a distance of 1 kilometer and 97.96 percent within a distance of
2 kilometers. With regard to U.P education 96.2 percent of population is served with an upper
primary school/section within a distance of 3 kilometers. The rural population served by
secondary schools within a distance of 2 kilometers is 24.71 percent and 97.82 percent has the
facility for secondary education within a radius between 6 and 8 kilometers.

Economic Review of 2004 says that there are 12, 322 schools in Kerala for 48.94 lakhs enrolled
students. Private sector manages 63.5 percent schools with 67 percent students and 66.6
percent teachers.

1 Kerala State Planning Board, Economic Review 2002, p. 234

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
Table 1 The elementary education scene
2
is very much vibrant in Kerala.
Classification of schools in Kerala (Management wise) - 2004 Compared to other parts of India,
Kerala has witnessed a healthy
Government 4,498 growth with regard to
Aided 7,287 infrastructure required for
Unaided (recognised) 537 elementary education concerned.
Total 12,322 Schools have been started by
Source: Directorate of Public Instruction various players in the last five
decades time. This has resulted in
competition leading to the close down of the inefficient ones. Parents preferred the best in the lot in
the area. Even this option offered plenty to choose from at most of the places. According to
Government, this healthy scenario has given birth to the 'uneconomic schools', a syndrome difficult to
be defined in its actual sense.

The Government defines uneconomic schools in the following


Fashion:
“The strength of students in a school is the criterion for
determining continuance of the schools. There are schools
in the state with insufficient strength of pupils termed
'uneconomic schools'. However, the use of the word
'uneconomic' in describing such schools is considered a
misnomer, because schools offer public service that cannot
be evaluated against any meaningful economic yardstick. At
the same time there is the need for a periodic assessment
and consequent discontinuance of such schools in order to
conserve resources and deploy them effectively”3

In the last five years, the competition among the schools has become so high that uneconomic schools
produced the class of 'protected teachers' in Kerala. The relevant rule in Chapter V of the Kerala
Educational Rules (KER) stipulates that the effective strength of pupils in each standard should not be
less than 25. The Director of Public Instruction is competent to waive the provision regarding
effective strength in the interest of the students. The exemption is granted on the condition that the
strength of students will improve in the subsequent years. If the school authorities are not in a
position to improve the strength then the only alternative is to close down the school. Staff strength is
granted as per the provision of KER, which prescribes the present pupil-teacher ratio as 1:45. In the
case of Lower Primary and Upper Primary Schools, one post of the teacher is to be sanctioned
irrespective of strength. No matter of time, this issue became the pet theme for political class of
Kerala. Moreover, the issue has a larger impact on the treasury of the state as most of the teachers
with drew their salary from the state account.

At the start of tenth five year plan (2002 -07), the plan document set two reforms for education sector
at its priority;
-Redeployment of surplus teachers
-Closing of schools without minimum students except in remote areas.

As on the expected lines, it invited wrath from the cross section of political parties especially from
teachers unions. To save the face, Government ascribed to the theory of 'low of birth rates'.
Apparently, it has reasoning to justify the cause of action. But a management wise enrolment list
presented a different scenario.

2. The schools listed here are those who follow the state syllabus only.
3. Department of Education, Selected initiatives in education, p.9.

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
Table 2
Management wise Enrolment of students in Schools in Kerala 1999-03

Year Enrolment of Students (in lakhs)

Govt. Pvt. Aided Pvt. Unaided Total


1998-1999 19.25 31.75 2.35 53.35
1999-2000 18.69 31.39 2.41 52.49
2000-2001 18.42 31.19 2.58 52.19
2001-2002 17.71 30.68 2.63 51.02
2002-2003 17.08 30.29 2.65 50.02
Source: Directorate of Public Instruction
Though it shows a decline in the total number of students enrolled over the years as a result of the low
fertility rate in Kerala, there is an increase in the enrolment to the Private unaided schools. This
generates an interesting debate for the reasons behind less enrolment of students in other two
categories. Though the Government has to yield to the pressure of unions, it succeeded in closing down
some the unviable schools in the last five years and conveying the message to the managements for the
need of quality education be provided in order to attract parents as well as students.

Another reason cited for the fall in the enrolment schools has been the mushrooming of other syllabi
schools. It has underlined the fault with the present system though no one was ready to look at it with a
positive frame work. Both these tables can be better analyzed after reading an interesting data given in
Economic review of 2003;

“As per Kerala Education Rules, a school in which the minimum strength per standard/batch in
LP/UP/HS is be-low 25 is called an “uneconomic school”. In schools where Arabic or Sanskrit is taught as
Part I and II of the first language, the minimum strength per standard is 15. Based on this norm there
are2541 uneconomic schools in 2003 against 2720 in 2002. This shows that the number of uneconomic
schools decreased by 179. Of the total uneconomic schools, 1201 (47%) are government schools and 1340
(53%) are private aided schools. Further, of the total uneconomic schools, 2085 (82%) are LP schools, 373
(15%) UP schools and 83(3%) high schools”4
Table 3
Schools in Kerala (those follow state syllabus)

Year Government schools Aided Schools Unaided schools Total


2002 4, 511 7, 320 500 12, 331
2003 4, 492 7, 282 497 12, 271
2004 4, 498 7, 287 537 12, 322
Source: Directorate of Public Instruction
Modernisation in Government Programme (MGP) outlines the following objectives behind the closure
of uneconomic schools;

“A detailed study is to be conducted on the need for continuance of all schools where the student
strength is below the prescribed level and where adequate schooling facilities are available nearby.
The savings arising from the closure of all such schools and the deployment of the teachers to other
schools according to requirement can be utilized for providing more infrastructure facilities in the
existing schools. The involvement of the local bodies and the community will help in the
decisionmaking process in this regard”
4. Government has only a moderate share of average 30 percent in the management of
total schools in Kerala. Among them, 47 percent of the schools are uneconomic as per the
economic review.

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
Table 4
Schools in Kerala (other than state syllabus)

Board 2002 2003 2004


CBSE 331 396 373
ICSE 71 75 78
Kendriya Vidyalaya 24 27 26
Jawahar Navodaya 13 13 13
Source: Directorate of Public Instruction

It has been decided to deploy the excess teachers in other aided and Government schools as a
result of the closure of schools. Protest from various quarters including the private aided
management regarding the redeployment of their teachers forced the Government to review the
decision.

Of the total protected teachers in 2002, 2165(58 percent) were primary level teachers, 968(26
percent) special teachers and 605 (16 percent) high school teachers5. The pressure on the
Government is reflected in the economic review of 2003;

“In the previous year, Government had taken a policy decision to close down 148 schools (both
government and aided). However due to representations of the PTAs and other well-wishers of the
schools, some of the schools have been allowed to continue after re-verification of pupils
strength. In closed down schools, pupil strength in all standards was only less than 50. However
the schools where there is no alternative schooling facility nearby, have not been closed. There
are at present over 1000 schools that are liable to be closed down due to very low pupil strength.
Clearly, continuing schools without the minimum strength is a drain on the state exchequer, which
eventually erodes the capacity of the educational system to deliver quality services”

To sum up, various equations play an important role in the closure of schools. Main feature among
them is the lack of quality education and infrastructure in the schools which drives the students
opt for better ones. Those aided schools who have given least preference to the education also
faced the consequences out of it. But the glaring fact is that it is the Government schools which
suffered a lot among all. Accountability, dedication and commitment of the teachers and staff are
under the watchful eyes of parents. Any diversion on these respects would have to be paid at the
cost of their careers. At the same time, an economist can look at the developments as a result of
consolidation of the sector which has a history of two centuries. It is the requirement of the day
and best augur for the future. MINDTEXT

5. Kerala State Planning Board, Economic Review 2003 p.273

D.Dhanuraj is the Chairman of Centre for Public Policy Research.


MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
RAW
THE
MORNING
BLUES
- T.V.Vinu -

Perhaps it's the morning blues…perhaps not. As I picked up the morning paper, the city news
was, as usual, depressing. Our old radio-set blared the same old stories rising prices, red-killers,
waste management, mosquitoes, malaria, metro rail, ICTT, Smart City and blah, blah, blah… and so I
started brushing my teeth. As every Kochite does, I didn't give a damn (about the news and not about
brushing teeth). But some news items impelled me to write down this article.

1. WHAT A WASTE?
“A woman was seriously injured when some unscrupulous elements threw huge load of slaughter
waste from a bridge into the Nettur stream.”

There is no way you missed this news. The news article said that the locals blamed waste
management (read as mismanagement) cell, the DMO (DMO…who?), and the police. There have
been various news items appearing in the print as well as the visual media that the Corporation
authorities have held meetings, discussions, consultations etc and have formed waste management
cells, trained self-help groups etc, etc. and that they have demarcated funds of lakhs of rupees to
solve the problem. The latest in news is constitution of a waste management (read as
mismanagement) cell, with an environment engineer (???) as chief manager to give 'case specific
technical advice'. And that too with an expenditure of Rs.25lakhs ONLY. What happened of the
Brahmapuram waste management project? Did the money spent on it go into the bin? I remember,
this newspaper had even dedicated a countdown column for inauguration of that project. I don't see
it now. May be they felt the column was a waste too and obliviously they dumped it The question
that lingers is after all this hullabaloo, where is the result? Can't you smell it? It's stinking…

2. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE


“30 lives in one year and counting…”

We are talking about red-killers. (Now, don't ask me who are these red-killers?) The news
gave some statistics, and as usual, blamed the law and order. Yesterday in the same column there
was a news article describing how a Bank Manager was killed, by an over speeding bus at Edapally
Junction. The reporter, I appreciate him, for he has done quite a lot of research on this. He gave lot
of statistics and figures for making it look gruesome. He too, blamed the law and order, the RTO, the
traffic police and finally the bus operators and the drivers. The authorities blamed the bus
operators and vice-versa. And the bus drivers…they blamed all of the above. It has been reiterated
by the authorities that law will be made stringent; drivers will under go counseling and special
classes on road manners (that tickles me…), violators will be severely dealt with, licenses will be
confiscated etc, etc. Now, it seems that the laws are being laid down by these red-killers. And they
are unstoppable…for they have the “license to kill”. And the result…you don't need that chequered
flag and the tarmac to start a race…

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
3. TAKEN FOR A RIDE
“Center derails Metro rail…”

It has been quite some time the abbreviations MRTS, BRTS, VGP etc
are making the rounds in the news columns. Well, the metro rail
project and sky bus has been in news for long time and various
politicians and representatives have been meeting, consulting,
discussing, finalizing and backtracking on it. Some have made trips
to foreign countries to “study” the feasibility of such project.
Expressions of Interests, preliminary reports, final reports and more
reports have been submitted. But where are they? What happened
A SKY BUS…
to them? How much time and money was wasted? Who cares? I am
not an expert but I can tell you this, an underground metro rail as in
WHERE
other metros, is not possible in Kochi, at least for the time being.
The reason being that there is no basic infrastructure to support any
IN THE SKY?
kind of development. No proper roads, no drinking water, power
failures, no timely accident care facilities, no disaster
management. No development is possible without basic
infrastructure. The most important being space…there is hardly an
inch of land left in Kochi city. And sky bus…where in the sky? Given
the present infrastructure and maintenance facilities available in
the State, the sky buses will start 'flying'. You will have to fear not
only the roads (Red-killers' playground) but also the skies. By the
way, let me ask you this…have you ever tried to park your two/four-
wheeler on M.G.Road? How many times have you been successful?
Now, that was an easy one…

4. YOU CAN DO NOTHING


I BRUSHED “18 school children drowned as boat capsizes in reservoir.”

MY TEETH, The boat, reportedly, was overcrowded. There have been lapses on the
HAD THE part of the teachers who accompanied them. The boat, as it is alleged, was
in a dilapidated condition. Now, does this news make you feel anything?

MORNING TEA The initial distress and grief for a few minutes, then blaming the
“authorities” and then a self-consolation by blaming the fate. There you

AND ENJOYED are…back to normalcy.


Does all this make you act or at least react? I know the answer and so does
THE CARTOON every other Kochite. Why are we after the dreams when we are not able to
fulfill the reality? As they say, “We should dream….”. Yes, we should. But to
COLUMN dream, I think, we must get a good night's sleep. Maybe we are
sleeping…hoping someone to wake us up? Decide for yourself. Until then,
go after the carrot, which is hanging in front of you. And while on the way,
keep these pieces of advice:

- When it stinks, hold your nose.


- When it's a race, you run.
- If you feel you are taken for a ride, just step aside and take a walk.
- If you can't do anything, you can do nothing.

Perhaps it's the morning blues. I brushed my teeth, had the morning tea
and enjoyed the cartoon column. By God! They are funny… MINDTEXT

T.V.Vinu is a final year student of Govt Law College, Ernakulam

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
WAKE UP!!!
JUST
A MINUTE
Ancient Indian Space Legacy (continuing)

Did you know that about 500 years ago Kerala QM.6.
had a remarkable school of astronomy?
Name the mathematician who first
Kerala had an observatory at Mahodayapuram in framed the rules for Operation of
the 9th century AD, which encouraged the Zero.
tradition of observational astronomy in Kerala.

Parameswara (1360-1455 AD), the teacher of


Nilakantha, had carried out precise
astronomical observations for over half a
century. Nilakantha was born on January
14,1444 at Kundapura, Kerala. Nilakantha wrote
his celebrated astronomical work “Tantra
Sangraha” in 1500 AD. It ranks with
Answer to QM.5.
Aryabhattiyam (499 AD) and Siddhanta
Shiromani (1150 AD) of Bhaskaracharya as one of The Tezpur Chilli called after the
the major works that significantly influenced all area where it is grown is the hottest
further work on astronomy in India. chilli on earth. It has the highest
Scoville units per capsaicin - a
He revised the traditional model of planetary
motion. He proposed that the equation of the
measure of hotness.
centre of the interior planet should be applied to
the mean planet and to the mean sun. He was
the first astronomer in the history of astronomy
to arrive at the correct formulation of the
equation of the centre for the interior planets.
He also gave the unified theory of planetary
latitudes. Nilakantha also presented a precise Send in your answers to
statement of the geometrical model, in which all edit@cpprindia.org
the five planets revolve around the mean sun in
eccentric orbits, whose planes are inclined to
the ecliptic and pass through the mean sun.

(To be continued...)

Courtesy: Awakening Indians to India

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
REFLECTIONS

A I saw him in a hurry


His face was deep in worry
Searching for something in the pile
Then stopping to think for a while.

REASON I asked him what he was searching for,


He didn't care to answer for.
He frowned, he cried,
Many expressions he tried.

TO None suited him


And he sat very dim.
Frustrated he kicked the rubbles,
All of a sudden his face brightened.

SMILE He dug his hand to pick something.


But when he saw me, he frightened
He came closer and stared at me.
I went closer and whispered to him,
“I wont tell this to anyone…
After all we are 'one'”
He thought for a while
Then he went and picked his new expression
The Smile.
He put it, and smiled at his 'friend'
With unknown expression behind.
He let out a loud ugly laughter
That sent through, a shiver
All this happened to my horror
When I looked into the mirror.

- T.V.Vinu

T.V.Vinu is a final year student of Govt Law College, Ernakulam


MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
PHOTO GALLERY

Snaps from a Seminar conducted by CPPR in S.H. College, Thevara

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07
REVERBERATIONS

"Mind Text is impressive. Keep up the good job."


- Vipin, Trivandrum

Send in your articles and suggestions to edit@cpprindia.org

-End of Document-

MINDTEXT
FEBRUARY‘07