Ever since the death of Burhan Vani, violence in the valley has assumed monstrous proportions. However, one of the biggest casualty of this aftereffect has been the education.
In fact, the Government itself has admitted that the education sector was in “crises” in Jammu and Kashmir. It has been revealed that the State has been ranked 3rd from the bottom among all the States and Union Territories (UTs) in National Achievement Survey (NAS) when it comes to education.
The current Education Minister Naeem Akthar blamed the previous Governments for being unable to take advantage of centrally sponsored schemes and making full use of funding that the state governments had received.
NCERT had also presented a grim picture of the education system in J&K and admitted that nothing much has changed after the PDP-BJP coalition took over in 2015.
According to its survey, around 79 percent of 5th class and 65 percent of 8th class students were not able to read the text of 2nd class text books.
It has become evident, after the survey that in north Kashmir, 30 percent of the students from Government schools can’t read their books while as many as 27 percent students were not able to perform basic Arithematic functions.
In south Kashmir, the Minister said, 40 percent students can’t read their books while as 51 percent can’t do division.
The samples collected from central Kashmir were equally disturbing, said the Minister, revealing that 36 percent students from the sample schools close to Srinagar couldn’t read their textbooks while as 24 percent students couldn’t do divisions in mathematics.
According to the education minister, “The ground situation is that J&K state has figured third from the bottom in the National Achievement Survey in Education and it is a major concern,”
According to the Minister, J&K has invested about Rs 40000 crore in the education sector in past 10 years. But, he also added that the achievements were dismal.
Commenting upon what could and could not have been done, he expiated upon the thin line between between MGNREGA and SSA today.”
The talk of violence under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) scheme by previous Government which, he said, had an adverse impact on Education sector.
This lacuna remains in spite of training and school maintenance, for which funds remain abysmally low. In fact, according to him, “Against the availability of Rs 2750 crore , just Rs 5.40 crore were utilized under the scheme.”
According to the minister, the entire scheme had been implemented incorrectly. “Under norms each school upgraded from Middle to High school, under RMSA scheme, was supposed to get five teachers on contract basis with monthly wages of Rs. 27160 which was violated by the previous regime and instead promoted the in-service teachers for the required subjects in the school,” he said.
The minister added that engaging students trained in foreign universities on a voluntary basis is one of the methods to cater to the growing demand of teachers.
Meanwhile, a centrally sponsored scheme for educationally backward blocks and each school has been allocated funds worth up to Rs.5 crores.
“The scheme wasn’t implemented in J&K and by the time we (PDP-BJP) Government took over it had been winded up,” said the Minister, adding the plan for construction of Girls Hostels in 97 blocks had met the same fate.