JAMMU, JAN 23: Terming education as cog-in-the-wheel of progress at all levels, Minister for Education Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari today said despite many odds and varied challenges the government succeeded to putting decrepit education system back on track and the recent board results in Kashmir offer a silver lining amid the dark clouds.
Winding up the discussion on Demand for Grants of the Education and allied Departments under his charge and responding to the points raised by the legislators, the Minister stressed on engaging in a constructive dialogue on improving the contours of the education sector, and emphasised that ‘it requires all of us to rise above political affiliations and considerations.’
He welcomed the suggestions of the Legislators and assured them that the same would be incorporated to streamline the functioning of the Department.
Admitting it was hard to bring a discernible change on the ground in the backdrop of huge gaps and challenges posed by law and order situation, he said to paint a rosy picture won’t be the right thing.
He however said that investment in education would mean investment in the future of the children ‘Nation Builders of Tomorrow’.
“Considering this fact, Government has decided on three-fold increase in the CAPEX Budget of School Education Department for the year 2018-19, “the Minister said.
He expressed gratitude to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu for having considered his projections made during series of interactions held with them.
He informed it was due to their personal efforts of the Finance Minister that despite shortfall in the allocation of salaries of SSA Teachers by the Central Government, the Finance Department has gone out of way in disbursing salaries to these Teachers from the State Budget.
The Minister reminded the members of the series of marathon constituency-wise meetings taken by him to review the education sector.
“I hope that the members by now must have framed a blueprint of their respective constituencies as the ownership of education in their areas has already been vested in them during these meetings,” he asserted and said one of the first steps in strategic partnership with the Legislators and MPs can take towards upgrading infrastructure in education sector will be their commitment to contribute Rs 1 crore each out of their CDF and MPLAD grants towards education sector. He assured that the funds provided shall be spent as per the demands of the Legislators and Parliamentarians in their respective constituencies.
He informed the house that the State Cabinet has given nod to the up-gradation of 400 schools from Middle to High and High to Higher Secondary level and establishment of 17 new degree colleges in the State.
The Minister informed that to compensate the loss of time of students of schools and colleges due to frequent disruptions, his Ministry is seriously considering notifying a separate ‘Education Calendar’ that minimises holidays and enables the teachers to complete their syllabi well in time. He sought support of the people in safeguarding the education sector from frequent disruptions and called for exempting teachers from all non-academic duties in the larger interest of the student community.
“We cannot afford to make our students suffer for this, teachers have to be discharged from all non-teaching assignments, including election-related duties,” he said.
Saying that the stat is still reprieving from the unrest of 2016 which took a heavy toll of the education sector, he said a large number of School buildings were specifically targeted by miscreants and around 32 Schools buildings were gutted, leaving the students in a lurch.
Sharing the views of the members to revisit the present education system, the Minister acknowledged that JK students have great potential and said “If we are able to nurture them and link education with skill and employability, we will achieve our goal of making our college and university campuses sought-after centres of excellence where top-notch companies would hunt for skilled human resource.”
He said with this view vocational Education is being imparted in 10 trades viz., IT/ ITES, Retail, Healthcare, Travel & Tourism, Agriculture, Telecommunications, Physical Education, Beauty and wellness Media & Entertainment and Security. It shall be my endeavour to broaden the scope of trades after proper mapping.
Calling for being more liberal while funding educational infrastructure, he said majority of the government Schools are in a pathetic state and lack even basic facilities like electricity, drinking water, lavatories, ramps, playgrounds, computer-aided labs and tools of modern learning like Smart Classrooms.
“Unless we address this huge infrastructural gap, any false promise of revamping the educational sector shall remain an absurd pretence and nothing more than a charade. After carrying out detailed assessment of existing infrastructure gap, it has been assessed that the School Education Department requires additional funding to the tune of Rs. 2500 crore towards renovation of existing infrastructure facilities. Similarly in the Higher Education sector, which is a relatively new Department, there is an urgent requirement of around Rs. 1300 crore, to bridge over infrastructure gap” the Minister asserted.
He said after intensive study and feedback, the department has been able to draw a perspective plan for the next three years to bring out a visible change on the ground in terms of augmenting infrastructure development in the education sector. “To implement this perspective plan, a first tranche of Rs 400 crore in School Education Department and Rs. 200 crore in Higher Education Department is immediately required to set the ball rolling” he added.
He, however, said under Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the Central flagship scheme, the government is trying to address key areas to make the institutes of higher learning centres oexcellence.
Citing that there was an urgent need to construct around 3200 additional classrooms in high and higher secondary Schools and 5500 classrooms in primary and upper primary, as per present enrolment, the Minister said the department needs more than this.
“After all, it is our children who are enrolled in these Schools. Let us not be parochial and see these 5300 Schools as competitors or rivals but as real partners in the field of education.” He, however, said that there are certain issues with the functioning of the private schools which we are looking into, especially the one related to regulation of fee structure, purchase of textbooks and school uniforms for which this House has expressed concern. “To address this, the School Education Department is actively considering bringing in legislation to regulate fee structure of all private educational institutions in the State so that we do not see these only as profiteering tuck-shops, as the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed” the Minister added.
Swachh Bharat summer internship workshop kick-starts at ICSC Srinagar
Srinagar, July 15: The week-long Swachh Bharat Summer Internship-2019 commenced Monday at the Islamia College of Science and Commerce, Srinagar under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
The inaugural session was inaugurated by the Principal ICSC Srinagar, Professor (Dr) Sheikh Aijaz Bashir, who was the chief guest on the occasion.
In his inaugural address, Prof. Bashir stated that such type of awareness programmes help in educating the youth for the proper use and re-use of bio-degradable and non-biodegradable solid waste in society.
“Nothing would change unless we as a community don’t change our attitude towards Waste Management,” he said. He also stressed on segregation of waste at source.
Other speakers gave a detailed presentation on the conceptual framework of Solid Waste Management and Sustainable Solid Waste Management on the occasion.
Advisor Sharma on whirlwind tour to Leh
Leh, July 14: Advisor to Governor, K K Sharma—who is on his four-day tour to Ladakh division on Sunday took stock of 45MW Alchi Hydel project besides meeting several delegations in Leh district.
The Advisor took detailed review of the power supply scenario of under this project. He inquired in detail about the capacity and feeding area of this project and urged to work for further improvement of the project efficiency.
During the inspection at the project site, the General Manager, NHPC has briefed to the Advisor in detail about the power network, saying that currently this project is generating 20 to 21 MW against the requirement of 15 MW peak load of the feeding area. He apprised the Advisor that around 10MW of power is being fed to the Grid during day time at present.
Later, Sharma also inspected the 220/66 KV GIS Station at Phyang and interacted with the engineers of Power Development Corporation and Power Development Department about the functioning of this power station and the working of transmission line. Advisor also enquired about the potentiality of future expansion plan under Alchi Hydel project.
The Chief Engineer, Generation/ M&RE Ladakh Wing, Ajaz Ahmad Dar briefed the Advisor that Nubra valley is all set to bring under the ambit of Alchi project and the tendering process of the work is under active progress.
The DC, Leh Avny Lavasa also briefed the Advisor that few power projects of the capacity upto 5MW are also coming up shortly through LREDA in Nubra valley and this will capably cater to the power need of the valley.
Earlier, the Divisional Commissioner, Ladakh, Saugat Biswas has received the Advisor at Leh in the afternoon.
Later Member Parliament (MP) from Leh, Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal also called on Advisor to Governor, K.K Sharma.
Namgyal discussed various issues pertaining to the Ladakh region of the State—urging Advisor Sharma to give patient hearing to the people and address their issues on priority.
The MP hailed government of Jammu and Kashmir for creating separate divisions of Ladakh region. He urged Advisor to focus on development on all fronts. He said that Ladakh has been neglected and remained backward, urged Advisor Sharma to shift focus on for its overall development.
He also sought that more posts should be created in Agriculture and other allied departments. He said that PDD should initiative augment infra and other developmental activities. He said that issues of Dah, Hanu, hydroelectricity power projects—run by JKSPDC, should be addressed on priority. The MP also raised issues of manpower in government-run departments at Khalsi and Drass tehsils.
Three drug peddlers arrested in Srinagar: Police
Srinagar, July 14: Police in its recent action against drug dealings in Srinagar have arrested three drug peddlers at a checkpoint and recovered contraband substance from their possession.
Officers at a checkpoint established near Eidgah, arrested three drug peddlers. They have been shifted to Police Station Safakadal where they remain in custody. Contraband substance including 50 grams of charas and 01 gram of heroin has been seized by the officers.
Case FIR No. 106/2019 under relevant sections of law has been registered and initiated investigations in the matter.
Community members are requested to come forward with any information regarding drug peddlers in their neighbourhood. Persons found indulging in drug peddling will be dealt as per law.
Our consistent actions against drug peddlers should reassure the community members that we are making efforts to keep our society free from the scourge of drug menace.