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Govt schools in J&K not up to mark

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Over 16,179 schools have less than 50 students: MoE

SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: The Union Ministry of Education (MoE) in its latest report has revealed surprising figures that less than 50 students are studying in around 16,179 schools in Jammu and Kashmir.
Last year, the Directorate of School Education also claimed that they had organised an enrolment drive and with the successful campaign, thousands of parents enrolled their children in government schools.
The Union Ministry also said that 18 percent of the schools have adverse PTR while of the total 23,173 schools in J&K, 848 are with zero enrolments while 2413 schools have only a single teacher.
The observations made by the MoE have raised concern about the functioning of the government schools in J&K as the School Education Department (SED) has been repeatedly claiming that no school with zero enrolment exists in the Union Territory.
As per the official document, the MoE has made this analysis as per the UDISE-2022 and has mentioned the total number of schools across J&K as 23,173.
Project Director Samagra Shiksha J&K said that the observations made by the MoE were not as per the latest UDISE-2023-24 data.
“No school with zero enrollments exists on the ground after carrying out rationalisation of teachers, we also addressed the issue of single-teacher schools as well”, he said
The SED in 2023 officially closed all the merged schools and removed their names from the UDISE data. Following this exercise, the actual number of schools reduced from 23,173 to 18,723 across J&K.
“We have removed the names and data of all these merged schools from UDISE which were officially closed. However, the latest UDISE data is yet to be certified by the Ministry of Education and that is why they have considered UDISE 2022 while making observations about schools with zero enrollment and schools with single teachers,” officials said.
He said that the department has submitted the latest UDISE data to the Ministry of Education and is expecting the data to be certified shortly.
According to the officials, the department is expecting that the report of MoE will be released by June and by that time latest UDISE data will be certified as well.
The MoE made these observations during the Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting held in February this year.
The PAB was convened to consider the Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWP&B), 2024-25, under Samagra Shiksha for J&K. The meeting was chaired by the Secretary of School Education and Literacy (SE&L), Government of India (GoI).
Meanwhile, the MoE observed that of the total 950 ICT laboratories approved for J&K, only 421 have been made functional so far.
“The benefits of digital education can be leveraged only when these pending ICT and smart classrooms are made functional,” the MoE observed.
It said that the Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) was an important resource of QR-coded textbooks and specialised e-contents.

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