J&K's level of education worsening, admits govt

Amid a row over scrutiny of degrees of teachers in Jammu and Kashmir, the state government on Thursday for the first time admitted that standard of education was worsening because of inadequate funding.

State Minister for Education Naem Akther in a letter to all legislators of J&K asked them to adopt at least one government school in their respective constituencies.

“The issue of deteriorating standards of education in the state and missing facilities at our government schools has been discussed with the Chief Minister (Mufti Muhammad Sayeed),” reads the letter addressed to one of the MLAs.

A similar letter has gone to all MLAs, MLCs and parliamentarians of J&K.

“The idea behind seeking cooperation from elected representatives was to rebuild the institutions which have collapsed owing to mishandling by the previous government,” Akhtar told reporters.

He said that inadequate funding in the school education sector was one of the main reasons for the department not being able to provide quality education.

A large percentage of government schools across J&K face with shortage of facilities like libraries, laboratories and improper buildings and insufficient classrooms despite receiving funding from Government of India.

To address this grim situation the Education Department has framed a concept paper to give a push to education scenario in the State It revolves around developing a Higher Secondary school in a particular area as “model school”.

Earlier this year, a survey ordered by Akther revealed that 124 schools set up in different districts were having no students on their rolls though these schools were sanctioned proper teaching and non-teaching staff.

In another 4,994 schools, the survey found, the enrolment varied from one to 35.
J&K has 24,265 government schools with sanctioned teacher strength of 1,43,103 teachers.

While the government annually spends Rs 5,432 crore on school education, performance of its schools has remained far below than schools in private sector.

The pass percentage in government schools has not gone beyond 50 for past 10 years while it is 75 in private schools, as per the survey.

A report by Comptroller and Auditor General of India has pointed out that uneven teacher-student ratio, improper buildings with inadequate facilities in the classroom, rented accommodation to run the schools were among main problems in state education sector.

Akther hoped the support from elected representatives would help improve quality of education and infrastructure facilities in the schools.

Police on Wednesday used force in a bid to disperse Rehber-e-Taleem teachers after they tried to march towards the Secretariat here.

Following the High Court order, the state government decided to scrutinise the degree certificates and screen those teachers who obtained their degrees through distance mode.
The teachers have objected to it saying they were selected through a transparent process based on merit. There are nearly 65,000 ReTs in the state who are paid a consolidated monthly salary of Rs 3,000 for five years before they get regularised.

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