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Govt to notify separate ‘Education Calendar’ to cut holidays

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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.


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State

Rizwan murder response to freehand given to security agencies: Er Rasheed

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Srinagar, March 19: Expressing grief and shock over the custodial killing of Rizwan Pandit, a school teacher, AIP President Er Rasheed has said that Rizwan’s murder is the response shown by security agencies to Prime Minister’s declaration that security forces have been given free hand after Pulwama attack.

In a statement issued today Rasheed said that there can be no excuse given by the state government and J&K Police to justify murder of Rizwan Ahmad Pandit, who was summoned to police station, “tortured” in Cargo and his dead body has been sent back home.

The incident should be matter or grave concern for the local cops who often claim to be Kashmiris and claim their respect for rights and sentiments of masses. Prime Minister owes an answer that why he was so inpatient to give forces a free hand to the extent that they dare to “torture” Kashmiris to death in custody in broad day light.

 

The promises of investigation and orders of inquiry carry no meaning as such shame enquiries have nothing yielded in the past. Now if Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti talk about exemplary punishment to the killers it makes no sense as not even a single man in uniform has been punished or convicted since 1990.

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Chattisinghpora killings: APSCC dismayed over delay in justice to families of 35 Sikh families

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In a statement issued to media, APSCC Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said that although 19 years have passed no headway whatsoever has been made in the case. He said the delay in justice has led to disillusionment among the members of Sikh community.

“Total 50 people were killed in Chattisinghpora episode. It is important that justice is delivered to the victim families. At the same time investigations need to be carried out in the sequence of events that unfolded later on as 15 more persons belonging to majority community were also killed in the aftermath of the Chattisinghpora massacre,” APSCC Chairman.

Raina said that since the locals countered the claims of government that it has killed five militants involved in the killing of 35 Sikhs it is imperative that the whole incident is probed in a professional manner so that culprits are brought to book and justice is delivered to the affected families.

 

Security agencies investigating are always dubious this is known to every common Indian, that they work under influence. If Government of India seems interested in solving the Chittinsinghpora they should conduct inquiry which is impartial and lead by some independent body so that truth is in front of everyone and especially Sikhs living in the valley.

He also expressed his sympathies to the families of persons who were killed in firing of security forces at Brakpora who were protesting against the fake encounter. He said that government should take up the probe in a forceful manner so that the real picture comes to the fore and people heave a sigh of relief.

“Justice Pandian who was asked to probe the incident in his report said that the five persons claimed to be militants by the security agencies were actually innocent residents of Brakpora. Their bodies were burnt and hastily buried in a nearby village. Since the whole episode has come under a cloud it is important to hold the probe in a transparent manner without any prejudice or bias,” said the APSCC Chairman.

It would be in place to mention here that in 2000, unidentified gunmen entered Chattisinghpora village and massacred 35 men belonging to the minority Sikh community. The murder of Sikhs shocked the entire Kashmir region.

“The police have so far failed to produce any hard evidence that the persons killed in the fake encounter were involved in the killing of Sikhs at Chattisinghpora. The committee formed by the government to find out the culprits, has failed to solve the mystery. We urge both the state and central government to go for fresh probe in the killings of Sikhs and make the things clear. Pandian Commission should be allowed to further investigate the incident as Brakpora and Chattisinghpora cases are interlinked,” said Raina.

The APSCC Chairman said that the massacre was condemned by then President of USA, Bill Clinton. He urged the Government of India to nab the culprits, which he later on also mentioned in his book and termed the incident as most unfortunate incident of his life. Then chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir Dr. Farooq Abdullah had publicly assured that the culprits will be soon arrested. Till date the promises made by the former CM and the present dispensation have proven to be hoax.

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Info dept protests against suspension of AIO Kupwara

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Srinagar, March 19: Lockout of all the offices of Information department across Jammu and Kashmir in protest against the suspension and attachment of an assistant information officer by Deputy Commissioner Kupwara has triggered a huge crisis in mid election season when the notification for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls has been issued by the Election Commission of India.

Talking to media, Information Employees Association president Shabir Ahmad said, “Following the transfer of district information officer Kupwara, the Director Information department had given the charge of DIO Kupwara to senior most AIO Basheer Ahmad Sofi having 30 years of service in the information department but DC Kupwara while trespassing institutional jurisdiction in exercise of his powers suspended Basheer Ahmad Sofi, the Assistant Information Officer for holding the charge of DIO Kupwara under the orders of Director Information and attached him with the district election office, surprisingly DC Kupwara without bringing the matter into the notice of Director Information asked Assistant Director Handicrafts, a junior KAS officer to hold the charge of DIO Kupwara. To protest the institutional trespassing in exercise of his powers by DC Kupwara we have locked all offices of the Information Department including the offices of director information, joint director information Kashmir and Jammu and all district information offices and the lockout will continue till the order is revoked.”

When contacted Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Anshul Garg told a local news agency, “I am just following the guidelines of election commission of India which empowers me to take all the decision for smooth running of the election related work in the district. I have suspended Assistant Information Officer and given the charge to assistant director handicrafts not today but last month. If chief electoral officer asks me to revoke the order I have no issues as every action is subject to scrutiny by the chief electoral officer and the election commission of India. KNS

 
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