The Bold Voice of J&K

Lack of infrastructure, staff causing problems in Government schools

87

SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: Government of Jammu & Kashmir has introduced major changes in education sector with path-breaking decisions to ensure quality, equity, accessibility, accountability and affordability in the system. Department of School Education has also claimed that they have achieved landmark strides so far by effectively implementing all schemes and projects, thereby envisaging a notable improvement in existing curriculum besides embarking upon various innovative new projects and works. Over last two years, SED also claimed to have registered around new admissions of 1 lakh students in various Government schools.
Almost half of the academic session is over, but the department is yet to provide textbooks to students in government schools particularly the newly enrolled students. The schools are facing a dearth of textbooks as per the enrollment of previous year, which speaks volumes about miscalculation and mismanagement in the department. During the enrollment, department conducted door to door visits and motivated parents to admit their kids in government schools, as Government is providing free textbooks, free uniform and MDM for kids in schools.
Project Director Samagra Shiksha claimed that infrastructure in schools witnessed tremendous upgradation and improvement. According to the official figures, around 1164 construction works under Samagra Shiksha comprising of School Buildings, additional accommodation, toilets, boundary walls and teachers’ quarters have been completed with a financial implication of around Rs 95 crore, besides other construction works under UT/District CAPEX budget and JKIDFC. In April, STATE TIMES carried a detailed report regarding poor conditions of Government schools in the Valley. There are still numerous examples in Valley where most of the Government schools in remote areas are deprived of school heads, with shortage of teachers.
According to latest reports Aadoo Pahalgam High school in District Anantnag has only 5 teachers with 100 students. Earlier it was reported that schools in Gurez are teacher-deficient as around 33 posts of lecturers are vacant in higher secondary schools across Gurez Education Zone. Further, the Government has failed to provide adequate accommodation to students in rural schools forcing them to attend classes under open sky. At times, students of more than one class are made to sit in a room by teachers leaving no scope for students to grasp what they are being taught. In reality, Government schools are deprived of proper classrooms and adequate staff, at a time when Government is making tall claims of imparting quality education and having equipped schools with other facilities.
Even though there are growth figures, the ground situation of government run schools is not satisfactory .The acute shortage of teaching staff in government-run schools has triggered a ‘crisis-like’ situation across J&K. According to reports, “256 posts of masters against total 437 and 43 of headmasters out of 59 also lying vacant in district Ramban.”
The officials of education department and the teachers convince parents to discharge their kids from private schools and get them enrolled in government schools where they can get free and compulsory education up to elementary level, but parents are worried because Government teachers are not dedicated to their profession and if they would enroll their wards in government schools, it would be quite detrimental to their children’s future.

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