JAMMU: The Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta on Tuesday chaired a meeting to review the functioning of the School Education Department and progress achieved under various schemes during the ongoing financial year.
Administrative Secretaries of the departments of Finance, School Education, besides Directors School Education, Jammu/Kashmir, and Director, Samagra Shiksha participated in the meeting.
It was informed that during this academic year, the Government and Private schools in the Union territory registered a cumulative enrollment of 22,07,296 students with 80% of schools functioning in the Government sector. As per the educational indicators on the revised population on the pattern of the UIDAI, the gross enrollment ratio in respect of Jammu and Kashmir at primary level, upper primary level, high school, and higher secondary level is 111.65%, 80.53%, 72.52%, and 60.53%, respectively.
It was further informed that the Department has implemented several key reforms in the school education sector including the rollout of transparent and simplified transfer policy; implementation of KGBV guidelines; maintaining an affiliation and recognition portal; framing rules for fee fixation committee, and ensuring PFMS based cashless transactions.
To boost gender parity in educational avenues, the Department has laid special focus on tribal and backward areas and has constructed 15 girls hostels in identified areas, whereas, 25 similar facilities will be completed by the end of the current financial year.
Under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the Department is ensuring distribution of dry ration and disbursement of the cash equivalent of cooking cost to all beneficiaries till the schools resume offline learning. The Chief Secretary directed the Department to verify the distribution of benefits under the scheme through respective Panchayats and ensure zero pilferage on this account.
The Chief Secretary emphasized the early implementation of the National Education Policy in Jammu and Kashmir and directed the Department to expeditiously open kindergartens across all 8,000 Government schools in a staggered manner with due convergence with sources under CAPEX and MGNREGA. The Department was asked to ensure the operationalization of kindergartens in schools of the winter zone within two months and the summer zone by March 31,2022.
Under the scheme Talash, the Chief Secretary asked the School Education Department to rope in Panchayats and enroll all out-of-school children and ensure universal enrolment of students in Jammu and Kashmir.
Taking a serious note of the dropout rates in Government schools, the Chief Secretary directed the School Education Department to fix its responsibility on the teachers failing to provide avenues of quality education to these young minds. The Department was asked to reduce the dropout rates in higher classes to half of the existing figures.
Moreover, the Department was asked to roll out the mentor-teacher initiative by the end of this month, where one teacher will be entrusted with the learning responsibility of 10 pupils. Accordingly, the School Education Department will evolve an online portal to capture the performance of all teachers and generate their monthly performance reports based on the learning outcomes of their students.
Dr Mehta further asked the Department to immediately install bio-metric attendance devices in all Government schools to keep a check on the attendance of teachers especially in far-flung areas and take disciplinary action against habitual absentees.
Observing that the NEP provides for in-built vocational training in the school curriculum, Dr Mehta directed the establishment of digital laboratories in all schools to promote vocational training among students of class VI and beyond, before March 31, 2022.
The Chief Secretary also directed the Department to fully utilize the resources provided under the School Development Fund and ensure the functioning of the basic facilities of drinking water, electricity supply, and sanitation in all schools.
The Department was further asked to provide adequate avenues for extra-curricular engagements to the students by proactively organizing events through eco-clubs, and various sporting events in collaboration with the Department of Youth Services and Sports.