Students of a government high school in Kerala have started an indefinite hunger strike demanding that their school be provided enough teachers.
The students of the government high school, Mamalakkandam, in Ernakulam district, began the agitation on Tuesday after the government failed to provide a single teacher for their school, upgraded into a high school last year.
The students, with the help of the PTA, laid a siege to the district educational office at Kothamangalam on Tuesday morning. From afternoon, two students started an indefinite hunger strike, saying that they would withdraw the agitation only after the government allots the required number of teachers for their school.
The school at Mamalakkandam was upgraded from an upper primary to high school last year considering that the next nearest high school is 30 km away from that village. The high school section requires four teachers. However, the government did not provide a single teacher to the high school classes at a time several schools are on the verge of closure for want of students.
“The tenth class had 24 students at the beginning of this academic year. As there is nobody to take classes, most of them went to other schools. Some have got enrolled in schools attached to orphanages elsewhere in the district. Now, only nine tribal students who have nowhere to go remain at the tenth class,’’ said Sulochana Chandran, local ward member at Kuttampuzha panchayat.
She said the panchayat authorities and other leaders had petitioned the government several times in vain. “The two students wanted to go on indefinite hunger strike to highlight their demand, although the PTA was against their move. The students took their own decision. They said they would end the hunger strike only after the government gives them teachers. The parents of these tribals students cannot pool fund to appoint teachers on daily wages,’’ said Chandran.
Kothamangalam legislator T U Kuruvila said after the students started hunger strike, he has apprised the government of the situation. “I hope the cabinet would consider the issue as an out of agenda item on Wednesday. If the government allots the teachers’ posts, the students have agreed to end the agitation.’’