As part of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s efforts to revamp general education facilities in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday inaugurated 34 new school buildings in different constituencies. The schools were constructed as part of the ‘Centre of Excellence’ project implemented by Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) under the Public Education Rejuvenation Mission.
The schools were inaugurated under the government’s 100-day action plan. On August 30, CM Vijayan had announced “100 days 100 projects” plan of the state government. While announcing the plan, he said 35 school buildings constructed at a cost of Rs 5 crores and 14 school buildings constructed at a cost of Rs 3 crores will be inaugurated within the next 100 days. The construction of 27 other school buildings will be completed and the construction of 250 new school buildings will be started.
Among the newly inaugurated schools, eight are in Kozhikode, five in Kannur, and four each in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Ernakulam. Three schools in Kottayam and two each in Malappuram and Idukki, one in Alappuzha and Thrissur too have been inaugurated. The new buildings have hi-tech classrooms, kitchen blocks, dining areas, toilet blocks, science and computer laboratories etc.
“The government has set aside Rs 5 crore for 141 schools, Rs 3 crore for 395 schools, Rs 1 crore for 446 schools. A total of Rs 2,336 crore is being used to make schools the centres of excellence. The state is spending Rs 793 crore for high-tech classrooms in the public education sector,” reads Vijayan’s statement.
The chief minister pointed out that false news regarding the school projects was being circulated. “The fake news that is being spread is that all the schools are being built in the North Kerala or Malabar region. But this is not true. From Balaramapuram to Chelakkara, we have built 19 schools,” he said.
According to Kanvar Sadath, through the Centre of Excellence project, one school from each of the 140 assembly constituencies has been provided with financial assistance of Rs 5 crore by Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) to upgrade the physical infrastructure.
Kerala government had allotted Rs 3,129 crore for developing basic facilities in the schools. As part of the programme, the state plans to construct 250 new school buildings across different constituencies. In over 350 existing schools, basic services are being made available. The government is spending the money for these projects through the KIIFB.
The projects of government under the 'PothuVidyabhyasaSamrakshanaYajnam' (mission to protect public education) aims to reshape the public education in the state ensuring quality education with skills that equip them to compete with fellow students around the world.
The mission, an investment for the future of Kerala, focuses on regaining lost public trust in government and state-aided schools, and providing education free of cost to the entire student population of the state.
When the government came to power in 2016, they had proposed comprehensive educational reforms including upgrading 1,000 government schools to international standards during the first phase. The reforms do not merely focus on improving infrastructural facilities, but also the teaching and learning process, aligning these to present day needs by introducing Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-enabled learning and smart classrooms. A special focus has also been given to creating educational programmes that are useful for differently-abled students.
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The state has around 13,000 government and state-aided schools. Through the mission, each government school with over 1,000 students will get up to Rs 3 crore for basic infrastructure development. State-aided schools will get government support of up to Rs 1 crore for the same, and equal share of money would be raised by the management.
The mission also redefined the existing classroom learning process and coordinated resource mobilisation efforts and developed a ‘Janakeeya Vidyabhyasa Mathruka’ which roughly translates to ‘People’s Education Model.’ Through various programmes, the mission also brought together parents, politicians and the public on a single platform for developing public educational institutions across the state.