Thiruvananthapuram: Schools across Kerala wore a festive look as they welcomed students back for the new academic session, which commenced post two month-long summer vacation on Thursday.
Majority of the institutions were decked up with festoons and colourful decorations to greet the newcomers.
The state general education department has already made elaborate arrangements to ensure that children in respective classes received textbooks on time.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the state level "Praveshanotsavam", the school opening ceremony, at a government vocational higher secondary school in nearby Malayinkeezhu in the morning.
While addressing teachers and students at the school campus, the CM said the public education system in the state has been on the path of excellence for some years and stressed the need for collective efforts to raise it to international standards.
He said the infrastructure facilities in state-run schools have improved remarkably since the CPI (M) government came to power in 2016.
Several lakhs of students had dropped out of government schools before that due to various reasons.
"The dropping of students from state-run schools had pained those who admire the public education system," he said.
But, in recent years, the situation has improved considerably with more students joining the public schools in the southern state, he said.
Crores of rupees were spent by the government in the education sector to bring the schools back on the path of revival and excellence.
Despite COVID-19, the state-run schools continued to draw children in a remarkable way, he noted.
Smart classrooms, advanced laboratory facilities and the digitally empowered education system are among the features of the revived public schools in the state, Vijayan pointed out.
Cautioning children against the presence of evil forces in the society, the CM urged them to stay away from such elements for their personal good and general well-being of the society.
The drug mafia is targetting the younger generation of the state, he said and added that teachers can play a key role in protecting children from falling into their trap.
General Education Minister V Sivankutty and several higher officials of the education department took part in the function.
Besides the CM, his cabinet colleagues and MLAs took part in similar school reopening celebrations held in other districts.
According to official figures, there are a total of 13,964 government and aided schools in Kerala.
The total number of un-aided schools in the southern state is 15,452, it said.