JAMMU: Opposition Leader and working president National Conference (NC) and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah Tuesday voiced concern over the poor education system in the state. He asked the Education Minister Altaf Bukhari to leave a legacy behind and improve the overall literacy rate of the state by framing some long-term policies.
“It is the first time I am participating in grants other than those belonging to Chief Minister’s departments,” Omar said. “I think education and higher education are most important sectors as it shapes our future.”
Omar said during his father’s time matric pass was seen a big thing. “Today the colleges and universities where we send our wards won’t take them if their percentage is below 90 per cent. And we are still counting pass percentages of our schools. Even in this also the government schools are nowhere in the picture compared to private schools,” he said.
Terming the education department as the most important sector in every society, Omar said it must be the priority and the focus area for the government. He said the development of infrastructure and appointment of staff should be of secondary importance but the real investment is to improve the quality of education in our schools.
Omar said the successive governments have been trying to improve the education sector and urged the Education Minister to have long term policy in place to improve the overall quality of education in the state to further perk up the literacy rate.
Omar said though the private schools pay less salary to the teachers but the output is far better than the government schools. He urged to devise long term plans to end this disparity.
Omar said the government education sector is producing thousands of middle (8th class) failures, 10th class failures, and class 12th failures. “Which department will accommodate these people? Which private industry will take our class 10th failures”, he asked.
Omar asked the Education Minister that it is good to see that most of the legislators are happy with his performance as they say the minister accommodates everyone. “But we need to think for long term plans to improve our education system,” Omar said.
The former chief minister said the education system of the state is not up to the standard and every government is responsible for it. “We are not able to take out the best of the best performance from our teachers. If you can bridge the gap of literacy rate between J&K and other states, that will make a difference. We need to improve our standards then only we can compete with other states,” said the former chief minister.
Omar said the up-gradation of education means when the overall literacy rate increases.
“I represent a district which is close to Srinagar but it has the least literacy rate after Ramban,” Omar talked about the Beerwa and Budgam. “We can’t hold one government responsible for it. Find your success in it that how you have been able to increase the literacy rate.”
Omar drew a comparison between government and private schools stating that the salaries of government teachers are much higher than those working in private schools, but the government run schools continue to paint a dismal picture. “In Budgam the pass percentage of government schools is 50 per cent while in private schools the percentage is 82 per cent,” he said.