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Kerala: No mid-day meal, no free books, Rs 300 fees; Idukki govt school's UP section remains unrecognised

The Udumbanchola Government School in Idukki, Kerala is facing a crisis due to its UP section being unrecognized by the government. This has resulted in inadequate teachers and infrastructure. 

Kerala: No mid-day meal, no free books, Rs 300 fees; Idukki govt school's UP section remains unrecognised anr
First Published Jul 8, 2024, 1:18 PM IST

Idukki: It is astonishing to learn that students from the upper primary category at Idukki Udumbanchola Government School have been paying Rs 300 monthly for the past 13 years to attend a government school. This unusual situation arises from the fact that while the lower primary and high school sections are recognized by the government, the UP section remains unrecognized, leaving it ineligible for government benefits and support.

Students in grades five and seven at Udumbanchola School are forced to share a classroom, resulting in an unconventional learning environment. While one group receives instruction, the other group sits idle. The UP classes have only two teachers responsible for all subjects, and when one is absent, the remaining teacher must simultaneously teach two classes, including the sixth-grade class in the adjacent room, taking on a dual role.

According to Teacher Anitha, the alternating class schedule is challenging, and students miss out on extracurricular activities like art festivals and sports competitions. Moreover, some students come to school hungry, with at least one child arriving without having eaten every day. To make matters worse, these students are required to pay a monthly fee of Rs 300, unlike their peers in other government schools who receive free books, mid-day meals, and uniforms.
If the students fail to pay their fees, the teachers' salaries are withheld. This school serves 50 children from low-income families in the cardamom plantation area of Idukki. Unfortunately, five students who completed fourth-grade last year were unable to advance to fifth grade due to financial constraints. 

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