Social Services

Kerala is known for its investment in its people. The prime focus on the welfare of its citizens has been the hallmark of Kerala’s development story. Kerala’s achievements in human development are the basis of its national and international fame. Continuing its commitment towards people, the Government has initiated four dedicated missions that focus on education, health, housing for all, and a clean environment. The welfare measures of the Government also extend to people migrating to the State. The policy initiatives are not only confined to people within its geographical boundaries but also to non-resident Keralites, who live beyond the boundaries of the State. The overall policy framework is oriented towards better living standards for the people of the State.

Human Resources- Education

Education in Kerala is both inclusive in nature and accessible to all the sections of population. The State, having attained very high rates of literacy and schooling, has a very well developed system that addresses the requirements and demands of all children up to 18 years. The State, with a few exceptions, has nearly zero dropout rate between classes 1 and 10 among the different sections of population. Education in a sense is the backbone of the Kerala's exceptional development experience.

Although the status of education is remarkable and there are many laudable achievements in this sector, there are some issues that need to be addressed. Education, especially higher education, in Kerala requires careful attention and improvement. The main task now is to focus on the quality of education, both school education and higher education. The issues which need to be addressed are related to academic achievement, skill education, incorporating technology in the curriculum, new training programmes for teachers, a focus on sports and fine arts, charting programmes that specifically address the requirements of differentially abled children, gender sensitivity, etc. While sustaining excellence in academics and improving its inclusive nature remain the primary focus of all Plans, we also need to keep in mind the changing times and the changing demands of both productive and higher education sectors.

Keeping in sight the importance and the modern day requirements of education, the 13th Five-Year Plan has marked it as one of the main thrust areas for State interventions. On the State government's side education is one of the four Missions initiated in 2016. Funds have been earmarked for strengthening the Education Mission, “Pothu Vidyabhyasa Samrakshana Yajnam” to meet the changing requirements of time and to upgrade classrooms and curriculum. In order to address the relevant issues in three sectors of education – school, higher, and technical education – and to formulate focussed projects for implementation during 13th Five-Year Plan, State Planning Board had constituted Working Groups. After meetings and consultations with experts, the Working Groups have submitted the reports.

Box 4.1.1
Pothu Vidyabhyasa Samrakshana Yajnam
(Public Education Rejuvenation Campaign)


  1. Upgradation of 1,000 Schools as centre of excellence.
  2. Conversion of all class rooms from Standard 9 to 12 as hi-tech class rooms.
  3. Improvement of infrastructure facility in schools where more than 1,000 students are studying.
  4. Improvement of infrastructure of primary schools
  5. Encouragement of proficiency in English language.
  6. Special packages for renovation of Schools which have completed 50 and 100 Years.

Organisational Structure

A State level mission with Chief Minister as the Chairman and Secretary, General Education as the mission secretary has been formed for coordinating various activities in connection with Public Education Rejuvenation campaign. District level mission has also been constituted with Chairperson, District Planning Committee as the Chairperson and District Collector as Mission Secretary. State and District Level Task Forces are also functioning for implementing various activities related with the campaign.

Upgradation of 1000 Schools as Centres of Excellence

The State Government will bear 50 per cent of total expenditure or maximum 5 crore for one School. The balance amount has to be borne by the participating agency or school PTA apart from depositing 1 crore for meeting the recurring expenditure. As a first phase KITCO has prepared master Plan of 37 Schools and Government has accorded administrative sanction to these schools. As the second phase, KITCO has prepared master Plan of 69 schools and government has accorded administrative sanction to these schools also.

Source: Directorate of Public Instruction


Literacy and education are important indicators of development in a society and play a central role in human development. As regards literacy, Kerala ranks first in the country with literacy rate of 93.91 per cent closely followed by Lakshadweep (92.28 per cent) and Mizoram (91.58 per cent) (Census of India, 2011). Kerala's literacy rate, which was only 47.18 per cent in 1951, has almost doubled by 2011. The male-female literacy gap which was 22 per cent in 1951 has narrowed down to 4.41 per cent in 2011. Kerala holds the first place in the country in female literacy with 92 per cent and Rajasthan records the lowest female literacy rate(52.66 per cent) (Census of India, 2011). Literacy rate of the State from 1951 to 2011 is shown in Appendix 4.1.1.

Variation in literacy rate among the districts of Kerala is low. While Pathanamthitta district (96.93 per cent) reports the highest literacy rate in the State followed by Kottayam (96.4 per cent) and Alappuzha (96.26 per cent), Palakkad district has the lowest literacy rate in the State (88.49 per cent). The low rate of literacy of the Palakkad district may be due to the prevalence of substantial percentage of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) population in the district. 11.01 per cent of the ST population in the State reporting an average literacy of 74.44 per cent are residing in the district. (The share of ST population in the district population is 1.67 per cent). The share of SC population in the district population is the highest in the State. Literacy rate by sex for districts from 2005 to 2017 are given in Appendix 4.1.2.

Kerala State Literacy Mission has been implementing literacy and equivalency programmes by appointing “Preraks” (field workers for propagating and continuing literacy programmes). Details of the number of people benefitted from equivalency programme of Literacy Mission from 2007-08 to 2015-16 are given in Appendix 4.1.3. It is seen that the number of persons who attend the 7th equivalency examination is steadily decreasing. Over these 10 years, it decreased from 11,631 in 2005 to 4,939 in 2016. This indicates that the persons without atleast education equivalent to 7th standard are decreasing drastically over the years in the State.

Box 4.1.2
Changathi: Literacy Programme for Migrant Workers

Changathi is a programme of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority for migrant workers. It aims to make them competent in reading and writing in Malayalam. The project was launched by Hon. Chief Minister of Kerala, Sri. Pinarai Vijayan on 12th December 2016 in Perumbavur municipality, Ernakulam district, the town with the largest migrant labour population in the State. For this programme, KSLMA has prepared a text book titled “Hamari Malayalam” (Our Malayalam) and the lessons of human rights, Constitutional values, rights of the workers and necessity of a healthy and hygienic living are incorporated in this text book. The book has been designed in such a way that migrant workers can interact with local people freely and fluently in their daily life. For identifying the migrant workers, a survey was conducted in Perumbavur Municipality and 3211 workers were identified. The classes have been started and 432 migrant workers have registered for “Çhangathi.” Classes are being conducted in 27 batches at various places including madrassa halls, factories, library halls and other public places. On the basis of the success of the programme in Perumbavur, KSLMA has extended the project to all Districts. For the second phase of the programme, one local body from each district has been identified and surveys are being conducted in those selected local bodies. As the second phase of programme, the programme also aims at improving the literacy standards of migrants in Hindi with a view to helping them to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Special committees have been formed in the selected local bodies to reach out to the migrants and enrol them in the programme. This special initiative of the State Government is expected to be beneficial for around 25 lakh workers, who migrated to the State from different parts of the country.

Source: KSLMA, 2017

Elementary Education

There were 12,981 schools in Kerala in 2016-17; 4,695 (36.17 per cent) government schools, 7,220 (55.62 per cent) aided schools and 1,066 (8.2 per cent) unaided schools. More government schools are functioning in lower primary section than upper primary or high school sections. Aided schools outnumber government schools in all sections. Malappuram District has the largest number of schools (1,558) in the State followed by Kannur (1,308) and Kozhikode (1,283).

Malappuram also has the largest number of government (553) and unaided schools (198) in the State. But the largest number of aided schools is functioning in Kannur district (963). Details of district-wise, management-wise and stage-wise number of schools in Kerala in 2016-17 are given in Appendix 4.1.4.

There are 1,436 schools in the State which are offering syllabi other than the one prescribed by the State Government. These include 1229 CBSE schools, 157 ICSE schools, 36 Kendriya Vidyalaya and 14 Jawahar Navodayas. One Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya school each is functioning in all the districts. District-wise details of schools with syllabi other than State syllabus in the year 2016-17 are given in Appendix 4.1.5.

Figure 4.1.1
Management-wise Number of Schools in the State 2016-17

Physical Infrastructure and Facilities in Government Schools

All the government schools in Kerala are functioning in pucca buildings. Own buildings have to be constructed for 126 government schools, which are now working in rented buildings. District-wise details of government schools having building facilities are given in Appendix 4.1.6.

Local Self Government Institutions (LSGI) and programmes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have contributed much to the overall development and improvement of physical infrastructure and common facilities in government schools in the State. Data shows that 98.6 per cent of government schools have access to drinking water and 99.95 per cent have urinals/latrine facilities. District–wise details of government schools having drinking water/latrines/urinal facilities in Kerala in 2017-18 are given in Appendix 4.1.7.

Enrolment of Students

Enrolment of students in the State has been declining in recent years; the number has declined from 37.02 lakh in 2016-17 to 36.8 lakh in 2017-18 (provisional). But there is slight increase in the enrolment in lover primary (LP) section and the increase from 2016-17 to 2017-18 in the number of the students in LP section is 18,066. The decline in Upper Primary (UP) section is 11,505 numbers in 2017-18, and the High School (HS) section shows a decrease of 28,641 students over the previous year. The stage-wise enrolment of students in schools in Kerala from 2013-14 to 2017-18 are given in Appendix 4.1.8. Details of management-wise and standard-wise enrolment of students in schools in Kerala in 2017-18 are given in Appendix 4.1.9. District-wise, stage-wise and sex-wise enrolment of students in schools in the State during 2017-18 is given in Appendix 4.1.10. The section wise decrease in the enrolment of students in schools is shown in Figure 4.1.2.

Figure 4.1.2
Stage-wise Enrolment of Students in Schools in Kerala (in lakh)

A positive change has happened in terms of enrolment of students in government and government aided schools. In 2017, LP section saw an increase of 14,268 students and 8,070 in government schools alone compared to the enrolment of previous year. It is a known fact that the number of children is decreasing over the years due to the demographic transition of low birth rate in Kerala. Still the enrolment in public schools increased mainly because of the shift of students from unaided schools. As Table 4.1.1 shows, there has been a decline in enrolment in unaided schools.

Table 4.1.1
Change in Enrolment of Students in Schools (2016-17 to 2017-18)
Management Standards Total I to X
Government 5703 354 1346 667 8070 -5192 -2409 469
Aided 6495 -1243 216 1302 6770 -5798 -17143 -16171
Un Aided -1122 63 -128 615 -572 -2834 -1729 -5135
Grand Total 11076 -826 1434 2584 14268 -13824 -21281 -20837
Source: Directorate of Public Instruction

Enrolment of Girls in Schools

Girl students constitute 48.98 per cent of the total student enrolment in schools. Boys outnumbered girls in all the districts. But the gender gap is very narrow in Kerala in terms of enrolment.

Strength of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Students

In 2017-18, Scheduled Caste (SC) students constitute 10.60 per cent of total students in the State. The percentage of SC students in government schools, private aided schools and private unaided schools are 13.48 per cent, 10.33 per cent and 4.13 per cent respectively. It is seen that the percentage of SC students in government schools is higher than that of private aided and private unaided schools.

Scheduled Tribe (ST) students constitute 2.07 per cent of total enrolment in schools in the year 2017-18. The percentage of ST students in government schools, private aided schools and private unaided schools are 3.86 per cent, 1.44 per cent and 0.46 per cent respectively in 2017-18. The standard-wise strength of SC/ST students in the State in 2017-18 is given in Appendix 4.1.11 Out of the total number of SC/ST students in the State, only 4.38 per cent of SC and 2.5 per cent of ST students are enrolled in private unaided schools. The rest are admitted in government and private aided schools. Table 4.1.2 gives the proportion of SC/ST students in schools in 2017-18.

Table 4.1.2
Proportion of SC/ST Students in Schools in 2017-18
Management Others SC ST
Government 82.66 13.48 3.86
Private Aided 88.23 10.33 1.44
Private Unaided 95.41 4.13 0.46
Total 87.33 10.60 2.07
Source: Directorate of Public Instruction

Dropout Rate

Kerala has achieved the distinction of having the lowest dropout rate of school students among the Indian States. In the year 2016-17, dropout ratio among school students in Kerala was 0.22 per cent.The dropout ratios in lower primary stage and high school stage are higher compared to that of the UP stage. Dropout rate is highest among high school students.

Among the districts, Idukki has the highest dropout ratio in the lower primary section (0.55 per cent). In upper primary section and high school, Wayanad has the highest ratios with 0.58 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively. The high dropout ratio may be attributed to the higher population of ST students in these districts. District-wise/stage-wise dropout ratio in schools in 2016-17 is given in Appendix 4.1.12. Dropout ratio among SC students in Kerala in 2016-17 was 0.26 per cent and that of ST students was 2. 27 per cent. District wise and stage wise details of drop out among SC and ST students in Kerala for 2016-17 are given in Appendix 4.1.13 and Appendix 4.1.14.

Number of Teachers

The number of school teachers in Kerala including Teachers Training Institute (TTI) teachers during 2016-17 was 163,160. Out of this 97,457 (59.7 per cent) teachers are working in aided schools and 15,457 (9.47 per cent) teachers are working in private unaided schools. The remaining 30.8 per cent of teachers are working in government schools. 51.53 per cent of total teachers in the State are teaching in high schools, 24.61 per cent in upper primary schools, 23.51 per cent in lower primary schools and the remaining (0.34 per cent) in TTI's. 72.66 per cent of total teachers in the State are women. Details of stage-wise and management-wise number of teachers in Kerala in 2016-17 are given in Appendix 4.1.15.

Uneconomic Schools

Schools with insufficient strength of pupils (below an average of 15 students per class) are termed as uneconomic schools. In 2016-17, there were 5,723 uneconomic schools in the State, which was an increase of 142 schools over the previous year. Out of these 2,589 were government schools and 3,134 were in the aided sector. District-wise analysis shows that highest number of uneconomic schools was in Kannur (737) followed by Kozhikode (603) and Kottayam (562).The highest number of uneconomic schools in aided sector is in Kannur (601) followed by Kozhikode (433). In the government sector, Ernakulam has the largest (283) number of uneconomic schools followed by Thiruvananthapuram (281). Among the government uneconomic schools, 73.23 per cent are lower primary schools. In the aided sector also 78.05 per cent of uneconomic schools are from lower primary section. District-wise details of uneconomic schools in the State in 2016-17 are given in Appendix 4.1.16.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan was introduced in 2000-2001 as a flagship programme of Government of India to provide useful and relevant elementary education for all children in the age group of 6 to 14 by 2010. The programme seeks active participation of the community in the management of schools without social, regional, economic and gender barriers. It comprises all activities of school education-providing physical infrastructure, free text book for children, encouraging enrolment of girls and teacher training. The sharing of funds between the Central and the State governments was 75:25 in the 10th Five-Year Plan. The funding pattern has been modified to 60:40.

Higher Secondary Education

Higher Secondary courses were introduced in the State in 1990-91 to reorganise the secondary level of education in accordance with National Education Policy. There were 2,073 Higher Secondary Schools in 2016 in the State. Out of these 833 (40.18 per cent) are Government schools, 854 (41.2 per cent) are aided schools and the remaining 386 (18.62 per cent) are unaided and technical schools. Among the districts, Malappuram has the largest number of Higher Secondary Schools (248) in the State followed by Ernakulam (209) and Thrissur (204) respectively.

There are 7,245 batches of higher secondary classes in 2017. The enrolment in Higher Secondary Schools was 382,051. Malappuram had the largest number of batches (1,052) with an enrolment capacity of 56,802 students. District-wise and management-wise number of Higher Secondary Schools and number of batches are given in Appendix 4.1.17 and District-wise enrolment of students in Higher Secondary Schools are given in Appendix 4.1.18.

The pass percentage of students in higher secondary courses decreased to 70.91 per cent in 2016-17 from 73.18 per cent in 2015-16. During 2017, there were 11,911 students who secured A+ and 305,373 students were eligible for higher studies. The details are given in Appendices 4.1.19 and 4.1.20. The pass percentage of SC and ST students in Higher Secondary schools has slightly increased in 2016-17 compared to 2015-16. The pass percentage of SC students increased from 57.77 per cent to 59.42 per cent and ST students from 58.12 per cent to 58.13 per cent during 2016-17. Details are given in Appendices 4.1.21 and 4.1.22.

Vocational Higher Secondary Education

Vocational higher secondary education was introduced in the State in 1983-84 to impart education at plus two level with the objective of achieving self/wage/direct employment as well as vertical mobility.

There are 389 Vocational Higher Secondary Schools in the State with a total of 1,101 batches. Out of these 261 are in the Government sector and 128 in the Aided sector. Kollam (52) followed by Thiruvananthapuram (41) has the largest number of Vocational Higher Secondary Schools in the State. District wise details of Vocational Higher Secondary Schools and courses during 2017-18 are given in Appendix 4.1.23.

The percentage of students eligible for higher education in Vocational Higher Secondary examination in March 2017 is 81.5 per cent registering a rise from 74.92 per cent in 2016 March. The number of students who appeared and those who passed Vocational Higher Secondary examination from 2010 to 2017 and the results of school going students are given in Appendices 4.1.24 and 4.1.25.

Box 4.1.3
Working Group for 13th Five-Year Plan on School Education

The major recommendations of 13th FYP Working Group on School Education are:

  • Integration and co-ordination of the functions of the different Departments and Centrally Sponsored Agencies, including the higher secondary, vocational higher secondary education, SSA and RMSA under a single Directorate of School Education.
  • School Sanitation Scheme- Clean campus programme to cater to cleanliness of campus, construction and maintenance of separate toilets for boys and girls, disposal of sanitary napkins and other accessories, upkeep of noon-meal serving areas etc. are the suggested components.
  • A new Tribal Education Package aiming at the complete elimination of the drop outs among tribal students has to be introduced.
  • Develop a ‘School Education Information System (SEIS)' which maintains all the performance indicators of schools including detailed statistics of academic performance, profiles of students and teachers, performance of schools in various competitions.
  • Introduction of a Comprehensive School Health Programme that not only envisages, healthcare, food and nutrition but also envisages the development of the child into a physically equipped and mentally alert individual. Arts, Sports and Crafts should be included in the school curriculum.
  • Creation and development of smart classrooms that would enable the learner to use state-of-art technologies of learning.
  • Creation of classroom libraries as well as school libraries cum reading rooms.
  • Establishment of Biodiversity Parks to enhance the learning environment in schools in communion with nature.
  • Provision for the wholesome development of the differently abled children in the school environment so that inclusive education becomes viable in both concept and practice.
  • The selection and appointment of teachers in aided schools and deployment of protected teachers in government schools should be handed over to Kerala Public Service commission.
  • The integration of the financing of education by the State Government, Central Government Schemes and Philanthropic agencies through the Creation of an Integrated Education Fund, that would monitor the acquisition and allocation of finances and utilisation in each sector.
  • Development of SCERT into an autonomous institute of research and training centre.
  • To provide linkages between the SCERT, DIETs, BRCS and CRCs so as to improve the training imparted to school teachers and for academic monitoring.
  • Curriculum Committee constituted should have experts acknowledged at national level.
  • The textbook committee should monitor the preparation of textbooks, educational accessories and technologies and the timely delivery of these resources to schools.

Source: 13th FYP Working Group Report on School Education, 2017

13th Five-Year Plan Working Group Report on School Education

The Working Group on School Education addresses four major categories of the issues. The first one is related to the infrastructural needs which include maintenance and up-gradation of school buildings, class room facilities, play grounds, water taps, libraries, laboratories, toilets, facilities for Noon Meal Scheme and canteen facilities. The second is the up-gradation of pedagogy in schools including online facilities, smart class rooms, upgradation of teachers including state-of-art of teachers training. The third is the transformation of curriculum and syllabi that brings school education on par with the quality criteria existing all over the world. There is also the need to address the special requirements of the marginalised and excluded, including Adivasis, Dalits, language minorities and coastal children who are the victims of a system that primarily caters to the needs of the elite classes in society. The report also points out the importance of integrating the pedagogy for differently-abled children with the existing system.

University and Higher Education

There are 14 universities functioning in the State. Out of these, four universities viz. Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi, Calicut and Kannur are general in nature and offer general science and arts subjects courses. Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala Agricultural University, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University, Kerala University of Health Sciences, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies and Kerala Technological University offer specialised courses in specified subject areas. Besides these, the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) established in 2005 and the Central University established in Kasargod district are also functioning in the State.

Arts and Science Colleges

There are 217 Arts and Science Colleges in the State comprising 156 private aided colleges and 61 Government Colleges. In 2016-17, Ernakulam (25) had the largest number of Arts and Science colleges in the State followed by Kottayam (23). Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode (10) have the largest number of Government colleges in the State. District-wise number of Arts and Science colleges in the State in 2016-17 is given in Appendix 4.1.26. In addition to the government and aided colleges there are large number of unaided arts and science colleges functioning in the State.

Enrolment of Students

Total number of students enrolled in various Arts and Science Colleges (excluding unaided colleges) under the four general universities in Kerala during 2016-17 is 2.96 lakh. Of this 2.03 lakh (68.68 per cent) are girls. (Table 4.1.3).

Table 4.1.3
Enrolment of Students in Arts and Science Colleges in 2016-17
Course Total Girls Boys % of Girls
B. A. 117,874 77,334 40,540 65.61
B.Sc. 99,017 73,809 25,208 74.54
B.Com. 42,519 26,819 15,700 63.08
Total 259,410 177,962 81,448 68.60
M.A. 13,733 9,307 4,426 67.77
MSc. 16,772 11,705 5,067 69.79
M.Com 5,632 4,009 1,623 71.18
Total 36,137 25,021 11,116 69.24
Grand Total 295,547 202,983 92,564 68.68
Source: Directorate of Collegiate Education

Out of the total students enrolled for degree courses, 45.43 per cent are enrolled for BA degree courses, 38.17 per cent enrolled for BSc and 16.39 per cent enrolled for B.Com degree courses. Girls constitute 68.68 per cent of total enrolment for degree courses.

For BA degree courses, 27 subjects are offered. Among the subjects, Economics has the largest number of enrolment of students. Besides, 31 subjects are offered for BSc course and Mathematics has the largest number of student enrolment. Details of enrolment of students in Arts and Science Colleges for BA, BSc and B.Com are given in Appendices 4.1.27, 4.1.28 and 4.1.29. In the State, 36,137 students were doing post graduate course in 2016-17. Girl students constitute 69.24 per cent of those enrolled. Details of enrolment of students in Arts and Science colleges for MA, MSc and M.Com courses are given in Appendices 4.1.30, 4.1.31 and 4.1.32.

Box 4.1.4
Recommendations of Working Group on Higher Education

The Working Group has examined the areas where qualitative changes in higher education are necessary. For improving the quality of education, transforming the benefits from Higher Education Institutions to General Public and to enhance the employability of the students, the Working Group has focussed on areas such as teaching-learning process, research, infrastructure, skilling and innovation. Having examined these aspects, the report recommends some proposals and projects for implementation in 13th Five-Year Plan. In order to ensure quality education in government and aided sectors, it is recommended to strengthen monitoring mechanisms and recruitment processes at various levels. Policy recommendations have also been made to transform the administrative and academic structures that are impeding the growth of academic excellence in the Higher Education sector. The major recommendations of the Working Group are:

  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS)
  • State Open University
  • National Knowledge Network (NKN)
  • Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC)
  • Ensure optimal student-teacher ratio
  • Industry-Student-University linkages
  • Promote collaboration and develop Linkages
  • Implement Erudite Programme
  • Provide a Public Research Fund
  • Inter University Centres should be strengthened with more financial resources
  • Start Dual Degree Programme
  • Start Capacity Development Initiatives
  • Ensure Job Training and Apprenticeship for Students
  • Implement Scheme for Fostering Community Engagement
  • Implement Science and Social Science Popularisation Programmes
  • Start Student Support Schemes
  • Initiate Faculty Support Programmes
  • Establish Emeritus Professorship
  • Provide Scholarships, Grants and Incentives to students
  • Avoid Duplication of Activities
  • Evaluate of On-going Programmes
  • Enhance Physical Infrastructure and Lab/Library Infrastructure
  • Ensure Career Awards Scheme for Mid-Career Faculty

Source: 13th FYP Working Group Report on Higher Education

Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Students

The enrolment of SC students in degree and post graduate course in the State is 33,968 and 4,847 respectively. SC students constitute 13.13 per cent of total students in 2016-17. (Table 4.1.4) Among SC students, girls constitute 72.02 per cent of total students in Arts and Science colleges.

Table 4.1.4
Percentage of SC/ST Students in Higher Education in 2016-17
Name of Course Total Students SC Students % of SC Students ST Students % of ST Students
B.A 117,874 13,685 11.61 2946 2.50
B.Sc 99,017 14,476 14.62 929 0.94
B.Com 42,519 5,807 13.66 748 1.76
Total 259,410 33,968 13.09 4,623 1.78
M.A 13,733 2,125 15.47 702 5.11
M.Sc 16,772 1,996 11.90 494 2.95
M.Com 5,632 726 12.89 133 2.36
Total 36,137 4,847 13.41 1,329 3.68
Grand Total 295,547 38,815 13.13 5,952 2.01
Source: Directorate of Collegiate Education

The number of ST students enrolled for courses in arts and science colleges in 2016-17 is 5,952. The enrolment of ST students in degree and post graduate courses are 4,623 and 1,329 respectively. Girls constitute 66.81 per cent of the total ST enrolment in Arts and Science colleges. Details of enrolment of SC and ST students in Arts and Science Colleges in Kerala during 2016-17 are given in Appendix 4.1.33. Figure 4.1.3 gives the percentage of SC/ST students in Degree and PG Courses in 2016-17.

Figure 4.1.3
Percentage of SC/ST Students in Degree and PG Courses in 2016-17


Central and State sector scholarships of 13 types are given to students. Various scholarships including Kerala State Suvarna Jubilee Scholarship (for 4,000 students), District Merit Scholarship (for 11,586 students) and Post Matric Scholarships (for 1,21,215 students) have been given during 2016-17. The Directorate of Collegiate Education has set up LED display board giving the details of scholarships offered by the Government of Kerala and India. The details of number of scholarships offered from 2014-15 to 2016-17 is given in Appendix 4.1.34.


The number of teachers in Arts and Science Colleges in the State in 2016-17 was 9,742, out of whom 56.12 per cent are women. University-wise number of teachers in Arts and Science Colleges in the year 2014-15 to 2016-17 is given in Appendix 4.1.35. There are 3,343 (34.31 per cent) teachers in Arts and Science Colleges in the State having Ph.D degree. Details are given in Appendix 4.1.36. A total of 2,393 guest lecturers were working in Arts and Science Colleges of the State in 2016-17. Details are given in Appendix 4.1.37.

Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR)

Kerala Council for Historical Research is an autonomous academic institution, established in 2001, committed to scientific research in archaeology, history and social sciences. It is a recognised research centre of the University of Kerala and has academic affiliations with and has bilateral academic and exchange agreements with leading universities and research institutes in India and abroad. KCHR is to publish a comprehensive volume on the scientific history of Kerala from pre-historic to the present times.

A sustainable/historical tourism project is conceived in the Kodungallur-Paravur zone and KCHR is identified as the nodal agency to provide technical assistance. From 2006-07 onwards KCHR has successfully undertaken multi-disciplinary excavation at Pattanam. The excavation has yielded significant evidences for re-conceptualising the early history of Kerala.

Kerala State Skill Development Project and ASAP

The Kerala State Skill Development Project was launched in July 2012 to enhance the employability of the youth and create opportunities for productive employment within and outside the State. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) through Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India has been engaged and partnered by the State for strengthening and scaling up ASAP.

Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) is designed by the Department of Higher Education and the Department of General Education to address the issue of low employability of the students. It aims at tackling the problem of educational unemployment by introducing market-relevant foundation training, vocational training and career counseling alongside the general curriculum at the higher secondary and under graduate levels. ASAP is being implemented in 836 Higher Secondary Schools, 26 VHSEs and 108 colleges in 2016-17. A total of 29,411 students are undergoing training in the year 2016-17. More than 200 programme managers have been engaged to help the ASAP Secretariat for running the programme and 1,900 Skill Development Executives have been recruited for providing foundation training in Communicative English and Information Technology. Eighty five skill courses in 30 sectors have been included for the trainings in 2016-17.

Technical Education

Technical education aims at human resource development by way of application of technology for the benefit of the society, in terms of improving the quality of life, enhancing industrial productivity and improvising technologies for the overall development of the community. Technical education imparts education to young generation enabling them to contribute to the sustainable development and improvement of quality of life of the society. Directorate of Technical Education is the nodal department for technical education in the State. The details of technical institutions under the administrative and financial control of Directorate of Technical Education is given in Appendix 4.1.38.

Various projects are being undertaken through funding from different agencies including Ministry of Human Resource Development, All India Council for Technical Education, Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP), Trivandrum Engineering Science and Technology (TREST) Research Park, Technology Business Incubators (TBI), Department of Science and Technology (DST), and University Grants Commission etc. Apart from this, up gradation of laboratories in various institutions are being taken up under Modernisation and Removal of Obsolescence (MODROBS) scheme of AICTE.

Box 4.1.5
Working Group on Technical Education

Major specific suggestions by the Working Group to address the issues in the area of Technical Education in the State are:

  • State Skills and Employment Policy to be developed.
  • Develop and adopt a Quality Assurance Framework in line with NSQF.
  • Develop a Professional and Career Development Policy (PCD) for Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) managerial and academic personnel.
  • Formation of a bridge organisation to relate R&D institutes and vocational education system. It should help the vocationally trained person to get the benefits of R&D
  • A central vocational training standardisation system, accredited nationally and globally, for maintaining the quality of the vocational education can enhance credibility of vocationally trained persons in the industry.
  • Training need analysis should be done taking into consideration job potential in local and global perspective. Creating job opportunities regionally can help to maintain the equilibrium in future days for ensuring inclusive socio-economic growth.
  • Working group also examined the concept of Academic Autonomy in order to achieve the
    • Aforesaid objectives of quality education and it recommended Academic Autonomy ensuring
    • Accountability by all the stakeholders.

Source: 13th FYP Working Group Report on Technical Education

Engineering Colleges

There are 180 engineering colleges in the State with a sanctioned intake of 57,544 in 2017. Out of these engineering colleges, 168 (93.33 per cent) are self financing colleges (unaided), 9 (5 per cent) are government colleges and 3 (1.67 per cent) are private aided colleges. Largest number of the unaided engineering colleges are functioning in Ernakulum (33) followed by Thiruvananthapuram (28). There is no government engineering college in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Malappuram and Kasargod Districts. The district wise and management wise details of engineering colleges and sanctioned intake are given in Appendix 4.1.39. The sanctioned intake of Govt. colleges during 2017 was 3,340 (5.48 per cent), aided colleges 1,850 (3.22 per cent) and unaided colleges 52,354 (90.98 per cent).

Of the engineering colleges in Kerala, the largest number of branch wise seats was in Electronics and Communication (11,211) followed by Mechanical Engineering (10,912), Civil Engineering (10,038) and Computer Science and Engineering (9,897). Branch-wise distribution of seats in engineering colleges in 2017-18 is given in Appendix 4.1.40. The number of students enrolled in government and aided engineering colleges for graduate courses in 2017-18 increased to 6,222 from 5,134 in 2016-17. The proportion of girls' enrolment has also increased to 39.86 per cent in 2017-18 from 36.42 per cent in 2016-17. For post graduate courses, 1,606 students have been admitted in government and aided engineering colleges in 2017-18. Girl students constitute 58.78 per cent of total students in government and aided engineering colleges studying for post graduate courses. Details are given in Appendix 4.1.41 and Appendix 4.1.42.

Box 4.1.6
Technology Business Incubation Centres in Engineering Colleges and Polytechnics

To promote entrepreneurial ventures of the students in campus, the State Government has started Technology Business Incubation centres in various Engineering Colleges and Polytechnics in the State. Government has sanctioned Technology Incubation Centres in 8 Government engineering colleges, 4 polytechnics and one at Supervisory Development Centre at Kalamassery. The major objectives of the initiative are:

  • Assist prospective entrepreneurs in nurturing their technology ideas and promote successful corporate entity at pre-start up and start up stages.
  • Promote innovation among budding engineers trained by institution.
  • Commercialise the ongoing research.
  • Spot and nurture entrepreneurial talents from among the students.

At present there are eight incubators in CET and many applications are being mentored. Government Engineering College, Thrissur has proposed to widen the services of TBI and extend further by developing more infrastructure and providing more services to students. At GEC Sreekrishnapuram, five cubicles are ready while at GEC Kannur, the number of cubicles is six. At present five start up companies have registered and are in the GECBH- TBI. The incubates are M/s CAIRUZ, M/s Lotus Button, M/s Mear Enterprises, M/s KRACKiT and M/s CREA8.

Source: Directorate of Technical Education, Kerala

Academic Excellence in Engineering Colleges

The academic excellence in Government Engineering Colleges is high and appreciable and this was due to the high pass percentage and increasing placement of students in reputed firms. The placement record of the students in various government institutions is also relatively high. A large number of students are also getting qualified for higher studies through competitive examinations like GATE, CAT etc. Most of the students get placement in multinational firms like WIPRO, MAHENDRA, TCS, and BOSCH etc. Placement details of students of various Govt. Engineering colleges in 2016-17 are given in Table 4.1.5.

Table 4.1.5
Placement Details of Students of Various Engineering College in 2016-17
Sl No. Name of College No. of offers
1 College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram 960
2 Government. Engineering College, Barton Hill 132
3 RIT, Kottayam 129
4 Government Engineering College, Idukki 13
5 Government Engineering College, Thrissur 353
6 Government Engineering College, Palakkad 35
7 Government Engineering College, Kozhikkode 4
8 Government Engineering College, Wayanad 3
9 Government Engineering College, Kannur 101
  Total 1,730
Source: Directorate of Technical Education

To enhance the academic excellence, visiting faculty programmes are conducted in Government Engineering Colleges of the State and the details are given in Appendix 4.1.43.

Polytechnics and Technical High Schools

Forty five Government polytechnics and 6 private aided polytechnics are functioning in Kerala. The annual intake of students in government polytechnics and private aided polytechnics during 2017-18 are 10,749 and 1,531 respectively. The total number of students in government polytechnics during the year 2017-18 is 27,163 and that of private aided polytechnics is 4,209. Details of annual intake and student strength in polytechnics for the year 2015-16 to 2017-18 are given in Appendices 4.1.44 and 4.1.45. Details of trade-wise annual intake of students in polytechnics of the State in 2017-18 are given in Appendix 4.1.46. Student intake is highest in the trade of Computer Engineering (2,016) followed by Electronics Engineering (2,000), Mechanical Engineering (1,660) and Civil Engineering (1,310).

Total number of teachers working in polytechnics of the State is 1,905. Women teachers constitute 30.29 per cent of the total number of teachers in polytechnics. Student-teacher ratio is highly favourable in private aided colleges for the last four years. (Table 4.1.6).

Table 4.1.6
Student-Teacher Ratio in Polytechnics
Type of Institutions 2014 2015 2016 2017
Government 21 20 20 18
Private (Aided) 11 10 11 11
Total 19 17 18 16
Source: Directorate of Technical Education

Details of number of students and teachers in polytechnics are given in Appendix 4.1.47. Number of SC/ST students and SC/ST teachers in polytechnics in the reporting year are given in Appendix 4.1.48. It is seen that the percentage of SC/ST students is low and it is decreasing over the last three years. (Table 4.1.7).

Table 4.1.7
Percentage of SC/ST Students in Polytechnics
Type of Institution 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
SC ST Others Total SC ST Others Total SC ST Others Total
Government 8.19 1.01 90.8 100 7.08 0.86 92.06 100 6.86 0.71 92.43 100
Private (Aided) 9.84 0.47 89.69 100 5.46 0.38 94.16 100 5.13 0.47 94.40 100
Total 8.4 0.94 90.66 100 6.86 0.79 92.36 100 6.62 0.68 92.70 100
Source: Directorate of Technical Education

Thirty nine Government technical high schools are functioning in the State. Total number of students and teachers in technical high schools in the year 2017-18 are 7,996 and 731 respectively. Women teachers constitute 26.13 per cent of teachers in technical high schools. Number of students and teachers in technical high schools in 2015-16 to 2017-18 are given in Appendix 4.1.49. Compared to the previous year, the percentage of SC and ST students in technical high schools has declined from 12.76 per cent to 9.36 per cent and from 0.96 per cent to 0.63 per cent respectively. Details are given in Appendices 4.1.50 and 4.1.51.

The higher and technical education in Kerala has to be capable of meeting the increasing employment opportunities in various sectors. For meeting the needs, the State has to introduce various industry based, skill based and job oriented courses and also impart life skills to the graduates. The skill based courses need to be collated so that duplication can be avoided and linkages can be established between various agencies.

Plan Outlay for and Expenditure on Education

During the first year of the 11th Five-Year Plan 590.24 crore had been earmarked for education sector of which 98.78 per cent was expended. The outlay has increased significantly during these five years with 1,330.79 crore being earmarked in 2016-17. The percentage share of higher education has increased significantly over these five years whereas outlay of technical education has increased only marginally during this period. General education got more than 80 per cent of the total allocation in all these five years It is also seen that the percentage allocation for technical education is lower, but its percentage expenditure is better. (Table 4.1.8).

Table 4.1.8
Plan Outlay and Expenditure in the XII Five-Year Plan (in crore)
Sector Annual Plan
Annual Plan
Annual Plan
Annual Plan
Annual Plan
12th Five Year Plan
Outlay Exp Outlay Exp Outlay Exp Outlay Exp Outlay E xp Outlay Exp % of expenditure
School 287.15 290.6698 333.15 318.5813 367.81 302.3843 379.75 341.6872 502.51 503.4127 1870.37 1756.735 93.92
Higher 202 188.8691 247.99 292.4577 367.97 206.5545 510.42 418.5926 592.81 243.0481 1921.19 1349.522 70.24
Technical 101.09 139.2316 117.86 152.9403 143.22 145.8392 184.45 366.6027 235.41 166.9842 782.03 971.598 124.24
Total 590.24 618.7705 699 763.9793 879 654.778 1074.62 1126.883 1330.73 913.445 4573.59 4077.855 89.16
Source: Plan Documents

Though the total outlay for all the three sub-sectors is increasing over these five years (Figure 4.1.4), except for the last year, the percentage share of school education shows a declining trend during this period. It decreased from 56 per cent in 2012-13 to 37.8 per cent in 2016-17. This may be due to the fact that the State has achieved most of the primary targets in school education.

Figure 4.1.4
Trend of Sector-wise Outlay of Education in 12th Plan ( in crore)

Source: Plan Documents

Way Forward

As per the recently published Report on Gender Vulnerability Index by Plan International (NGO working in the field of Child Rights in India), Kerala is one of the safest place for girls to live and the State is ranked 2nd safest place just after Goa. But Kerala's rank in the Educational Index is only 8th. It is seen in the report that the indicator of “the percentage of the State Budget earmarked for Education” in Kerala is below the national average. Likewise, clean toilets available for girls are also not up to the mark. Though the methodological validity of the index can be debatable, Kerala's 8th position in educational ranking raises some critical questions regarding the education system of the State. Many other reports including ASER Report, Expert Committee Reports of 12th Five-Year Plan and Working Group Reports of 13th Five-Year Plan send out warning signals on the consistent fall in the quality of education in the State and this requires immediate attention and urgent action of the Government.

Improvement in health status of the people is one of the crucial areas in social development of a community. This can be achieved by improving the access to health services especially for the underprivileged people. Kerala has achieved a good health status compared to other States in India. Easy accessibility and coverage of medical care facilities, apart from other social factors such as a high literacy rate, well-functioning public distribution system, less exploitation of the workers due to the presence of workers organisations etc. have played a leading role in influencing the health system in Kerala. The Peoples Campaign for Decentralised Planning initiated in 1996 helped improve infrastructure and service in primary and secondary healthcare institutions and widened healthcare delivery. In Kerala, both modern medicine and AYUSH systems play a crucial role in providing universal access and availability to the poorer sections of society.