education_kerala_paper

Topics: Primary education, High school, Secondary education Pages: 395 (15381 words) Published: January 23, 2014
ISSUES IN SCHOOL EDUCATION IN CONTEMPORARY KERALA

C. P. Chandrasekhar
V. K. Ramachandran
R. Ramakumar

A paper prepared for UNICEF, New Delhi
April 2001

Acknowledgements
K. Jayakumar IAS gave generously of his time for interviews and gave full access to documents and information on school education from the Education
Department
and
DPEP.
C.
Ramakrishnan
(Co-ordinator,
Educational Research Unit, Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad), P.K. Michael Tharakan (Director, Kerala Institute of Local Administration, Thrissur) and T.M. Thomas Isaac (Member, State Planning Board and Associate Fellow, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram) gave us detailed interviews and information on school education in Kerala and comments on the findings. A.K. Shiva Kumar of UNICEF, New Delhi provided us with all-India data; he commented on a draft of this report and provided much encouragement. We also received help and information from K. Narayanan Nair and P.R. Gopinathan Nair of the Kerala Research Project on Local Level Development, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Ms Prema of the DPEP and G. Manamohan of the State Planning Board, Government of Kerala. We are deeply grateful to all of them; we could not have written this report without their generous help.

ISSUES IN SCHOOL EDUCATION IN CONTEMPORARY KERALA

C. P. Chandrasekhar
V. K. Ramachandran
R. Ramakumar

By the late 1980s, it was clear that Kerala had not only
achieved mass literacy, it had also been able to ensure
that

the

school.
social

overwhelming
Although

and

majority

residual

political

of

problems

attention

in

its
of

children
access

Kerala

in

entered

remained,
the

1990s

turned to other issues in school education: the retention
of children in schools, the quality of education and new
forms of community participation in school education.

This

paper

deals

with

issues

in

school

education

in

contemporary Kerala. In particular, it deals with
!"levels of public investment in school education;
!"issues of access to school education, the retention of
pupils in the school system and the state of physical
infrastructure in schools; and
!"issues related to course content, pedagogy and community
participation in school education.1

1

The paper does not deal with the important issues of special facilities for school education of the handicapped or special education for children with learning difficulties.

1.

BACKGROUND

A cardinal feature of culture and society in Kerala and of
Kerala's

political

proportion

of

and

economic

literate

and

development

educated

is

persons

the

high

in

the

population. Literacy - in particular, female literacy - is an essential

(and

is

often

regarded

as

the

essential)

facilitator of Kerala's achievements in the spheres of health and demographic change. Literacy is a foundational feature of Kerala's political culture, crucial in the creation of public opinion and essential to the consciousness of individual and political rights that is so conspicuous a feature of social

and political life in Kerala.

With regard to the proportion of persons in the population
who are literate, Kerala and the other states of India are in different leagues (see Table 1). In 1991, there was mass
literacy among men as well as among women. Although the
proportion of literates in the population of the northern
districts at the Census of 1991 was lower than in the rest of the State, the gap was smaller than before. National Sample
Survey data from the 42nd Round (1986-87) on age-specific
literacy show very high rates of literacy in the younger age groups - over 97 per cent among males and females in each age group between 6 years and 24 years, in rural areas and urban areas. In every age group below 34, even the rural female

literacy

rate

in...

References: (2000), “Arivinte
Grama Panchayat”,
Bhat, P. N. Mari and S. Irudaya Rajan (1990), “Demographic
Transition
Caldwell, J. C and Pat Caldwell (1985), “Education and
Literacy as Factors in Health”, in S
P
(1994),
Chandrasekhar, C. P (2000a), “Economic Reform and
Budget”, Economic and Political Weekly, April 1-7.
Chandrasekhar, C. P and Jayati Ghosh (2000), “Fiscal
Devolution in the Era of Globalisation”, Macroscan,
District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) (2000c), DPEP
Interventions in Girls’ Education, Handbook, DPEP,
Ganesh, K. N and C. Ramakrishnan (2000), “Education and
People’s Planning Campaign: The Kerala Experience”,
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