Health plan, toilet ratio, admission guidelines in Kerala’s ‘School Manual’

Kerala’s draft School Manual collates the sundry laws, regulations, guidelines on school education applicable in the state in one document.

The Kerala School Manual requires schools to create a school health plan for early detection of epidemics, mental stress (source: Shutterstock)The Kerala School Manual requires schools to create a school health plan for early detection of epidemics, mental stress (source: Shutterstock)

Atul Krishna | May 12, 2022 | 03:37 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Every school will have a health plan that will help with the timely detection of epidemics, mental stress and other ailments; schools must also have one toilet for every 10 girls and one for every 25 boys. With the help of parent-teachers’ associations (PTA), schools must set up vending machines and incinerators for sanitary napkins. The draft of Kerala’s first-ever School Manual contains these and many other such prescriptions on running schools in the state.

The draft manual, made public for comment on Thursday, details the roles and responsibilities of school principals, teachers, parents’ groups and other school bodies for smooth functioning of the institutions in the state. Prepared by Kerala’s general education department, it collates into one document the laws, regulations and guidelines that govern school education in the state. Its prescriptions will be binding on government, government-aided, unaided schools that follow the Kerala State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) syllabus.

The manual is based on the Indian Constitution, Kerala Education Act 1958, Kerala Education Rules 1959, Right to Education Act, 2009, Kerala General Education Service Rules, Kerala Education Subordinate Service Rules, and various circulars and court orders. The National Education Policy 2020 is conspicuous in its absence from the policy document. Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, both opposition party-governed states, have also said they will frame their own state policies. The NEP 2020 was not tabled or voted on in parliament.

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The manual brings together the various laws and guidelines related to the physical structure, human resource, academic matters and governance of schools. The introduction says the manual will act as a “guidebook for school principals” for optimum functioning of day-to-day activities of the school. It states that not having uniform guidelines has hampered the functioning of schools and that the manual attempts to rectify this flaw.

School admission, English medium

The manual also sets down guidelines for admissions including certificates required. For instance, it mandates that students who are not five years old by June 1 cannot be admitted to Class 1. It also allows students to join a school at any time of the year, given that the school principal is satisfied with it.

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It also sets out guidelines for admitting and providing facilities for students with disabilities in line with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016.

The manual also mandates that a parallel division for English-medium instruction should only be created if there are 30 students at the time of starting the division.

The manual instructs schools to set up a monthly, quarterly and annual calendar to keep track of academic activities.

The general education department has invited comments on the draft manual. The comments and suggestions should be submitted on or before May 20, 2022.

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