SRINAGAR: The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has introduced major reforms in the school education sector with landmark decisions to ensure quality, equity, accessibility, accountability and affordability in the system besides improving teaching and learning standards in schools of the Union Territory.
The department of School Education has achieved landmark strides so far by effectively implementing all schemes and projects envisaging a notable improvement in the existing curriculum besides embarking upon several innovative new projects and works.
The infrastructural edifice in schools of the UT has also witnessed tremendous upgradation and improvement. About 700 construction works under Samagra Shiksha, UT CAPEX budget and JKIDFC besides major works were completed including 5 Girls Hostels at a cost of Rs. 13 crore and 5 KGBVs at a cost of Rs. 1.98 crore. Also, 15 major projects were e-inaugurated by the Lieutenant Governor in this month.
The major initiatives in pipeline are finalization of RTE rules for ensuring “Quality Education” at “doorsteps” to all school children, SCERT J&K proposed to be established by merging existing SIEs and 20 DIETs to mainstream teacher education/curriculum reforms, 626 vocational Labs being established in approved schools after prevailing COVID-19 lockdown, 3rd party evaluation of learning teaching outcomes shall be conducted in 500 schools through Quality Council of India, Akshya Patra an NGO shall be entrusted with the task of providing mid day meal to a few identified schools falling in the jurisdiction of urban local bodies of districts of Jammu and Samba. Besides, PFMS platform shall be used to bring about transparency in utilization of funds released under Mid Day Meal and Samagra Shiksha and 19 new Model Schools shall be developed on the pattern of Kendriya Vidyalayas during the next three years.
In order to strengthen Human Resource Management, the government regularized about 38000 RETs besides ensuring their capacity building under Integrated Multidisciplinary Professional Advancement Course for Teachers (IMPACT) programme.
Fulfilling its commitment towards ensuring Inclusive Education, 23,405 Children With Special Need (CWSN) were identified, of which, 16115 CWSN were enrolled students. Besides, Stipend, Escort and Reader allowance of Rs 1.20 crore was disbursed among 2838 children with special needs through DBT mode and 42 laptops were provided to Special Educators for Visually Impaired Children. Also, 1785 Aids and Appliances were distributed among the CWSN during 2019-20.
Likewise, 12 CWSN from J&K participated in the International Anjali Festival in Orissa and bagged 3rd Position and Special Jury Award. Also, 30,142 Gujjar/Bakerwal children were provided education in 1,417 seasonal centres by engaging 1,570 seasonal education volunteers during 2019-20 and similar arrangements were made this year.
Out of 23,857 out of school children identified in 3 districts of Budgam, Samba and Jammu, 2,765 children were enrolled in Non Resident Special Training Centres (NRSTCs) and 1,151 were enrolled and mainstreamed into regular education system.
Towards improving quality of education in schools, JK-DIKSHA and Vidya Daan Apps/Portals were launched in J&K; so far, 60,154 users downloaded DIKSHA App. Besides, virtual trainings were conducted in 2 phases through JananPrabodhini, official partner of MHRD for DIKSHA. Nearly, 2500 ICT labs for secondary schools are being established and 100% saturation of KG/Pre-schooling being attained in 1000 Government Schools with toilet, drinking water facility and electrification.
The government, in its endeavor to ensure gender equity in schools, 88 Kasturiba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) and 88 Girls Hostels (Residential Schools) for 1,54,000 girls being made functional in far-flung areas to reduce gender gap and girl child dropout rate. Besides, 7 new model Secondary Schools and additional classrooms are under construction to improve GER in Government Schools. About Rs. 1477.27 lakh were spent during 2019-20 for boarding and lodging, stipend, supplementary teaching learning material, stationery, rent, salary of staff, maintenance, capacity building etc.
In order to minimize drop-out rate and improve students health, 5823 MT dry ration (Rice) was provided to 8.29 lakh students at their homes during COVID Lockdown Phase-I and Rs 14.47 crore was released as Cooking Cost through DBT to beneficiary students and parents. During Phase-II from June to July 2020; dry ration was distributed among 84,000 students till date besides 2814 school nutrition vegetable gardens were established to supplement mid-day meals.
For monitoring health of students and assessing impact of MDM; about 7 lakh Student Health Cards were delivered in 11 districts.
The government launched special initiatives to ensure education of students do not suffer during COVID-19 Lockdown. These initiatives inter alia included assignments to all the students by SIEs/DIETs, Radio Classrooms, Tele Classes on DD Kashir and Local Cable Network, Video Lectures Repository using JK Knowledge Network and its telecast and up-loaded on cloud platforms besides online Virtual Classes are being promoted during the lockdown period and teachers were trained in use of digital platforms for online education” through DIETs. So far, 7302 schools were covered and 41,214 teachers linked 2,52,310 students.
Additionally, National Educational Portals like e-Paathshala and DIKSHA were promoted and special WhatsApp Groups were created to interact with Children with Special needs through Special Educators. Besides, different Online Capacity Building Programs and Webinars were organised for students and teachers during the period. About 3659 computer tabs were distributed among the students for online classes.
Also, online student Career Guidance Portal (Manzelein) was launched in collaboration with UNICEF to provide information on 1150+ entrance examinations and 112+ scholarships. Besides, 500 schools were connected for 2-way interactive lectures from across the globe with focus on subject specific topics, career counseling, motivational speakers and exposure to outsiders through Jammu Kashmir Knowledge Network (JKKN). Likewise, students who could not be linked to online classes due to lack of mobile phones or internet connectivity issues are being engaged in community classes by volunteer teachers amid COVID guidelines for 3 lakh students. This was a unique voluntarily initiative of JKUT as per SOPs circulated and NITI Ayog has appreciated this.
Regarding Capacity building of teachers, 227 key resource persons and 16 course mentors were given training under “IMPACT” Integrated Multidisciplinary Professional Advancement Course for Teachers.
The first phase of National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA) was held in which 271 key resource persons and 52 state resource persons were trained for subsequent training to 86000 teachers teaching at Elementary Level. Besides, 14,750 teachers teaching classes 9th and 10th were provided Subject Specific Training through DIETs during 2019-20 and online Professional Development Program on Early Childhood Care and Pre-Primary Education for about 100 Teachers in association with training partners AMPERSAND Group is in progress.
Meanwhile, Counseling Cell in collaboration with Bharti Foundation imparted training to 400 teacher counselors besides 206 schools of Jammu District had training on study skill modules.
Meanwhile, the department organised several online quiz programmes of UT and National level besides observing all-important National and International events in all the schools through digital modes. Also, free textbooks worth Rs. 21.40 crore were distributed among 8,98,745 students, Learning Outcomes Document developed by NCERT distributed among 52000 Primary School Teachers, 553 schools were covered under Vocational Education, 2,22,100 school bags/ education desks distributed. Besides, annual School grants of Rs 58.87 crore were released to 22,367 schools for several activities.