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Several north Kashmir schools have classes existing only on papers

Srinagar, Apr 27: Indicating the sorry state of affairs in the School Education Department, several classes in the schools in many education zones of Baramulla district have zero enrollments.
In the ongoing academic session of 2018-19, the entire class 6th “is missing” at Middle School, Sriwarpora in the district’s Nihalpora education zone, an official in the School Education Department told The Kashmir Monitor.
At Primary School Rather Mohalla in Guyiwa area of the same education zone, the official said there was zero enrolment in class 5th.
Middle School Badipora in Tangmarg zone of the north Kashmir district also has not even a single student enrolled in class 6, said the official.
In the same education zone of the district, class 5th at Primary School Khan Mohalla, Chonti Pathri “does not exist” as per the official.
“If a class, say 5th or 6th, is missing in a school in the current academic session, it means that there has been no enrolment in class 4th and 5th respectively in the last academic session,” the official said.
“There are many more schools (in Baramulla district) where some classes do not exist at all,” he said.
The reason for the zero enrolment in the classes was that the government had “unnecessarily opened schools in violation of the norms”, as per the official.
“Within the radius of say 1 km, where there should have ideally been one school, there are as many as 4-5 schools,” the official said.
“Had the schools been opened as per the laid-down criteria, it would have improved the schools’ infrastructure,” he added.
“In Guyiwa, there are as many as 5-6 primary and middle schools within a radius of just half a kilometer. Same is the case with Sriwarpora area. Even after the government clubbed the schools in Sriwarpora, there is still the problem of below par enrolment there.”
A top-rung official said a number of schools across the valley, where hundreds of Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers (ReTs) were recruited “on political grounds”, have been opened without considering the toll they would take on infrastructure.
Admitting to the zero enrolment in different classes at schools in the district, Chief Education Officer Baramulla, Abdul Ahad Ganai, said, “What happens is that a candidate fails at times or skips schooling, so some particular class may be missing.”
“Maybe a particular class is missing, but there is good enrolment in the schools,” Ganai said.
Ganai acknowledged to the fact that schools had been set up in excess against the laid down norms.
“There are no two opinions on that; I agree with you. But I also don’t know why they have been set up,” he added.
Zonal Education Officer Nihalpora, Abida Fazli, said, “There might be accommodation problem for the missing classes”.
“The Sriwarpora School is undergoing construction, so they might have shifted the class to some other school,” she said.
Fazli also echoed Ganai that the schools had been set up in excess as compared to the prescribed norms.
“That is right. They have set up schools everywhere, so there is a meager enrolment. I know some schools where, there is an enrolment as meager as 50 even after clubbing 4-5 schools,” she added.