Kerala: 1.24 Lakh Students Did Not Leave Caste & Religion Columns Blank, It Was A Technical Glitch
April 4th, 2018
Image Credi: The New Indian Express
Last week, Kerala education minister C Raveendranath told the state assembly that almost 1.24 lakh students in the state had left caste and religion columns blank while filling application forms. The news went viral and was widely appreciated. Many claimed it was an indication of the rise of a new generation of progressive thinkers.
The Logical Indian had covered the education minister’s statements during the question hour of the state assembly last Wednesday.
But recent data indicates that the minister had misrepresented the figures. According to K V Mohandas, Director of Public Instruction, the data was sourced from incomplete information uploaded by the schools. According to him, the details were uploaded on the Education Department’s website using the ‘Sampoorna’ school management software. “It is not mandatory to fill up the columns declaring religion and caste in the application form for Class I admission. The department has sourced the data from the information entered by schools on the website. Teachers might have filled only the mandatory columns while entering the students’ details,” he told The New Indian Express.
Fresh data suggested that the number of students who did not fill either caste nor religion columns was 1,238. 2,797 students entered only religion and left caste column blank. 2,984 students kept away from citing the religion. Anvar Sadath, Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) vice chairman, pointed out the figures with various categories of caste and religion entries during school admission, but his post was deleted later. He posted the data entered with Sampoorna School Management software. As per his Facebook post, 1,22,662 students have not entered their caste, but 1,19,865 students filled the religion column even though they left the caste column blank, which suggested that 2,797 students chose to have religion, but not caste.
Many schools in the state came out against the government data, claiming it as wrong information. “My school has 783 students and the religions of all students have been entered in the government site Sampoorna,” said N A Abubacker, chairman of N A Model Higher Secondary School in Kasargod to The New Indian Express. But the minister said that as many as 427 students of the school left the caste column blank. Abubacker accused the minister of committing a criminal offence by wrongly stating the figures.
“It is true we found 921 Muslim students left their caste column blank in the admission forms for out school. But all of them did fill ‘Islam’ in the religion column and ‘OBC’ in the category column. The school employees found the caste column was not mandatory while uploading data on the Education Department. Hence, they opted not to enter any data while uploading the details of some students. But they did fill the column for religion and category,” said Beerankutty Haji, secretary of Al-Hidayath English Medium School, Kondotty in Malappuram district to The New Indian Express.