A concentrated effort and push by the Kerala government turned out as a boon for its local public schools as for the first time parents started showing interest in sending their children to public schools.
Also, for the first time enrollment of students in class 1 increased in government and government aided schools during this academic year. This year the enrollment increased from 12,198 to 2,61,731 students.
Parents in Kerala became more interested in English-based private schools as the lack of education in public schools began reflecting in poor infrastructure and lack of basic facilities such as clean drinking water and absence of proper sanitation facilities.
State Director of Public Instruction K V Mohan Kumar said that the turnaround of the schools began sometime in last year when LDF government identified the revitalizing the public school system as an important mission.
The funds for revitalizing the schools came from Centreʼs Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, funds from local civic bodies and the Local Area Development Funds of MPs and MLAs.
Government started funding the public schools from last year and gradually some of the schools get smart classroom, new toilets and better drinking water.
Kumar said "the government soon realized that one of the factors that led to the neglect of government schools was that parents were attracted to private English-medium schools. So we introduced English education in our schools from the pre-primary level. That, according to me, is one of our key successes".
The government also brought the technology into the classrooms.
“We launched a plan to convert 1,000 government schools into centers of excellence and 45,000 classrooms into high-tech ones. This created confidence among parents about the public education system," he says.
Kerala School Teachers Association president K J Harikumar says, “Now, most government schools offer IT courses. In the past, unaided and CBSE schools used to attract students by promising IT-enabled education and education in English-medium. Once we started giving all this at no extra cost to the students, the trend changed”.