THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: General education minister V Sivankutty has dismissed as baseless and untrue his cabinet colleague Saji Cherian‘s observation that those who cleared SSLC examination in the state lacked skills to write or read properly.
“The observation that those who qualify for higher studies after SSLC in Kerala do not know how to read and write is untrue.The general sentiment of people of the state is that the quality of education should be further improved at the school level. More projects towards this are being taken up by educational agencies, including SCERT, under the general education department,” Sivankutty said in a statement.
He also said the controversy had been created by extracting some remarks from Saji Cherian’s speech. “If you listen to the entire speech, it is clear that he has expressed his opinion to take the public education sector to a higher level,” he said.
He said curriculum reform was being implemented up to pre-primary level, for which training is given to teachers from time to time. Teachers and students are also being trained in advanced science and technology fields, including artificial intelligence, he said.
The curriculum reform works currently underway were aimed at ensuring that students from the first standard learn Malayalam alphabets. Kerala provides pre-primary, primary, upper primary, high school and higher secondary education in the very best manner. It will not compromise on academic excellence, Sivankutty said.
The state still ranks first in the Union education ministry’s development indices, including school education, Sivankutty said. Speaking at an event in Alappuzha on Saturday, Saji Cherian said it was challenging to secure the minimum pass mark of 210 in SSLC earlier, but now all students were able to clear it. “But, a significant percentage of them do not know how to read or write properly,” he said.
Expressing concern that if anyone flunked the examination, it would be portrayed as the failure of the dispensation, he said it was good for the government to be liberal in evaluation for SSLC examinations. The present general education minister Sivankutty, who already made it clear that the practice was not right, is expected to bring reforms, he added. In 2023-’24, 99.69% students — 4,25,563 students — had cleared the SSLC examination.