1.24 lakh students await allotment in northern districts

With 1.24 lakh students in the districts from Palakkad to Kasaragod alone not getting Plus One single-window allotment after the first allotment list came out, demand for sanctioning additional batches grew shriller.

After the first allotment was published on Tuesday, 2,20,127 students did not receive allotment across the State. Of them, 1,24,432 belong to six districts in the north of the State.

In Malappuram, where the number of applicants was 82,446, the highest in the State, less than half received allotment – 36,393. The total number of higher secondary seats in the district is 50,207. This means there are only 13,814 seats left for the 46,053 students who did not get allotment in the first allotment list in the main phase.

In Kozhikode, which had the second highest number of applicants at 48,156, as many as 24,173 students who did not get allotment have only 7,513 seats left for them to get allotment.

In Palakkad, only 4,740 seats remain for 22,537 students who did not get allotment in the first allotment list, while in Kannur 8,138 seats remain for 17,451 students yet to get allotment.

Of the total 64,117 seats in the State that are vacant after the first allotment, 40,009 are in these six districts. This means the 1,24,432 students who did not get allotment have only these 40,009 seats left for getting allotment when the second list is published on June 12.

In the southern districts, the gap between the number of applicants and available seats is narrower. For instance, in Thiruvananthapuram 3,590 seats are vacant after the first allotment for 11,813 students. In Pathanamithitta, 1707 seats remain for 5,594 students. In all, a total of 24,108 seats are available for 95,695 students in these districts.

Even as the students in the northern districts, particularly in Malappuram and Kozhikode, struggle to get higher secondary seats, there are many schools in southern districts where the number of students in a batch is less than 25.

As per government figures, there are 31 such batches in Pathanamthitta alone. Alappuzha has 18 such batches, and Ernakulam 19 batches. By the end of the 2023-24 Plus One admission, there were 129 batches with fewer than 25 students in government and aides schools.

As in the past, the government has sanctioned marginal increase to meet the shortfall of seats and decided to retain the batches temporarily sanctioned and shifted last year. However, this has clearly proved inadequate.

Moreover, the increase in class size to up to 65 students when marginal increase of 30% is sanctioned has also drawn flak. Such huge class sizes are detrimental to academic quality, say teachers’ organisations.

The failure to make public the recommendations of the V. Karthikeyan Nair committee set up by the General Education department to study higher secondary batch reorganisation has also come in for criticism.

“The panel report would have led to a permanent solution to the problem that crops up every year,” the Aided Higher Secondary Teachers’ Association said. Shifting batches from district where there are not enough students to the northern districts would help resolve the problem without putting additional financial burden on the government, it said.

The Higher Secondary School Teachers’ Association said the problem could be addressed by sanctioning new batches in government schools according to the number of students who passed the SSLC examinations in each panchayat, especially in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.

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