SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education has proactively taken steps to secure the educational prospects of a multitude of students enrolled in non-compliant schools. Addressing the predicaments faced by these institutions, the Board has set in motion a process aligning these students with nearby government schools to ensure the seamless administration of their examinations.

Sources of The Daily Excelsior indicate that this decision arises from the shortcomings of over 300 private schools across the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, failing to renew their affiliation with J&K BOSE. The primary impediment lies in their inability to meet the stipulated conditions, notably the failure to secure renewed affiliation due to their campuses’ locations on government-owned land.

The Statutory Order (S.O.) number 177, dated April 15, 2022, introduced additional conditions for school registration, recognition, and affiliation. Notably, schools are now mandated to acquire a land title or lease deed certificate from the relevant Tehsildar for the land on which the school is situated. The absence of this certificate can result in de-recognition and the takeover of school management.

In response to these developments, Joint Secretaries of the J&K Board of School Education for Jammu and Kashmir Divisions issued circulars, urging private schools to provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) regarding land use from the Revenue Department. Unfortunately, a considerable number of schools failed to meet these new requirements, rendering them ineligible for affiliation renewal.

The disaffiliation has triggered concerns about the academic future of thousands of students. However, JKBOSE Chairman, Dr. Prikshit Singh Manhas, reassures that every student will be allowed to participate in the examinations. He underscores efforts to tag affected students with the nearest government schools to mitigate potential adverse impacts.

To address the situation, defaulting schools have been directed not to admit students from class 9 onwards until the extension of their affiliation is granted by JKBOSE.

Dr Singh recalls a similar issue from the previous year, highlighting that the School Education Department had filed a Civil Miscellaneous Petition before the High Court, enabling the tagging of students to government schools to safeguard their academic pursuits.

This development is grounded in amendments to the rules under the Education Act of 2002, mandating private schools established on state land to cease operations immediately. Affected schools were instructed to issue school leaving certificates to students, facilitating their transition to government schools with parental consent. Despite legal challenges filed by aggrieved private schools, the High Court of J&K and Ladakh issued diverse directives, including orders to maintain the status quo.

In response to these developments, the Kashmir Schools Federation (KSF) vehemently opposed the decision to link students from private schools facing land issues with alternative schools, thereby denying registration forms for their original institutions.

Speaking at a press conference in Srinagar, KSF President Shakeel Hafiz described the Board of School Education’s (BOSE) decision as arbitrary, uncalled for, and unjustified.

“BOSE cannot stop the students of these schools from appearing in the class 10th examination from their respective schools as they have already accepted the Registration Return Forms (RRF) of these students in class 9th last year,” Hafiz told media persons.

Hafiz stressed that BOSE should permit students from these schools to take their exams at their respective institutions, even if they are dealing with land issues or other pending formalities.

“We will approach the BOSE Chairman and Director of School Education Kashmir as well. We will deliberate on the issue with them and we are hopeful that there will be an amicable solution to the issue,” he said.

The KSF’s statement comes a day after Chairman BOSE said that certain private schools were not able to fulfil the norms set by the State, resulting in the suspension of their affiliation and registration.

The BOSE Chairman said that they would tag students of these private schools (defaulting schools) with nearby schools and allow them to appear for class 10th exams.

“There is no need to tag the students of these schools with other schools. Whatever the formalities are to be completed, they (the government) should give some time frame to these schools to fulfil all these formalities,” Hafiz said.

Hafiz insisted that, at this juncture, the administration should allow the students to appear in the exams from their respective schools without tagging them with any other school.

“We have to consider the future of students, and I request the administration to give some time to these private schools and do away with the tagging system. The option of tagging students with other schools will not be accepted at all,” Hafiz said.

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