Decoding rot in education: Over 1100 cr in kitty, JK failed to conduct ‘out of school children’ survey

Srinagar, Feb 23: As much as the authorities say otherwise, the state of education in Jammu and Kashmir remains pathetic as key indicators show the government has repeatedly failed on improving school academic and management standards.

An official document of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) showing the progress under the Samagra Shiksha scheme spills the beans.

To begin with, the authorities in J&K, as per the documents, have not conducted any survey to determine the number of Out of School Children (OoSC) since 2016.

The last survey, 2016-17, had listed 52500 Out of School Children.

“Rate of mainstreaming of out of school children in regular schools is very low. J&K has not conducted/updated survey of Out of School Children since 2016-17. There is an urgent need to have a renewed focus on universal enrollment, attendance, and completion of elementary education,” reads the MHRD document outlining the status of the Samagra Sikhsa scheme in J&K for the year 2019-20.

The poor performance in determining OoSC is just the tip of the iceberg.

When it comes to education indicators, the document reveals that 70 percent of upper primary schools have less than three subject teachers, while 90 percent of Secondary Schools have less than four subject teachers per school.

Moreover, the retention rate at secondary level, the document shows, is merely 56 percent.

“J&K may focus either on teacher’s rationalisation to meet requirements of the subject teachers or to recruit fresh subject teachers on priority,” the document reads.

The poor indicators are no wonder since at least 520 schools (both secondary and higher secondary) in J&K function without heads or principals.

“There are 418 Head Master/Principals’ vacant posts in Government Secondary schools and 102 in Government Higher secondary schools respectively which may be filled on priority,” the document.

This is besides the 3,952 vacant teacher posts in secondary schools across J&K.

When it comes to providing ICT tools for the students, J&K fares poorly here as well.

The document shows that as many as 455 schools in J&K have not implemented [email protected], a scheme that was adopted by the government of India in 1993.

The primary component of [email protected] is providing computer-aided education to secondary and higher secondary Government and Government aided schools, a must considering how education deliverance is technologically driven in this era.

Teacher training, the vital component of academics, too has hit a brick wall in J&K.

As per the document, there are 53 academic vacant posts lying in State (now UT) level Institute of Education (SIES) and 107 posts in the District Institute of Education (DIETs).

In addition, there are 2061 untrained teachers in Government Secondary schools, who do not meet the requisite professional qualifications.

Funds wise, J&K seems to be getting and spending plenty.

Alone under the Samagra Shiksha scheme, J&K received Rs 1151.70 crore in 2018-19.

For 2018-19, the government of India, as per the document, committed to providing Rs 1794.84 crore (Rs 1402.96 crore for elementary, Rs 359.25 cr for secondary and senior secondary, and Rs 31.92 cr for Teacher Education).

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About the Author

A journalist by chance with over five years of experience in reporting, editing, and bucketing local, national and international content for my current organization. I have covered education, health, politics, and human rights. I like working for a daily, though I occasionally try my pen in long-form to connect personal narratives with history.

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