Naeem pleads for insulating education from disturbances

* Rolls out slew of measures to widen educational reach
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 21: Pleading for insulating education from disturbances, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar today said that schooling adds value to a person’s worth and such a sacred endeavor being derailed is like pushing the society into the dark ages.
“Education is not merely about employment but it takes an individual on the path of knowledge and emancipation and it has to be made disturbances-neutral,” the Minister said while replying to the discussion on the Demands for Grants of Education and allied Departments in the Legislative Assembly this evening.
“The biggest and the basic challenge we are faced today is to bring our children from the cycle of hatred and violence and restore their confidence in life, make them celebrate it and end their alienation”, the Minister said and added that there is a need to change the distorted discourse among the youth and children and make them believe how they can flourish and progress in life and career while living a respectful and dignified life.
Referring to the situation in which the last exams were held in Kashmir Valley, he said education in the last five months had become an underground activity as the parents were sending their wards stealthily to schools. “The place which has been a source of inspiration for knowledge in the entire sub-continent was pushed to such a dismaying situation,” he said adding “such tough has been the challenge but the parents, teachers and students overcome it successfully which has been reflected in the results declared recently.”
Making a significant move towards universalization of education in the State, Akhtar announced that henceforth no Government permission will be required for opening of community Primary School in the private sector.
In another important decision aimed at promoting transparency in the Department, the Education Minister announced that henceforth services like marriage based transfers, maternity and childcare leave, study leave and hostel allocation for students will be online.
Quoting the data, the Minister said that in Class 10th results for Kashmir division, the performance of Government schools has improved by an impressive 24%, going up from the average pass percentage of 50% to 74% against the private schools which have improved their performance by just 12%. He said the overall percentage gap in the results of the Government schools and the private schools has also been reduced from 29% to 18%.
Similarly, in the Class 12th results for winter zone of Jammu division declared recently, 31 positions out of overall first 36 positions have been bagged by the students of the Government schools.
“Likewise the small reforms which the State has   introduced are not only being appreciated but also followed in the country,” he said, adding the no detention policy which has been done away by JK after discussing the matter at high level conference held in August when the Kashmir unrest was on its peak. He said despite objections by the speakers the State went ahead with the decision as “We have autonomy”. He said now exams would be held from 5th to 9th and those who would fail would be given another chance.
About the reforms in higher education, the Minister said that two Cluster Universities have started functioning with the appointment of Vice- Chancellors.  To expand the scope of colleges, he said 68 girls’ hostels would be constructed across the State to enable the students of far flung areas to receive higher education.
Responding to the demands of members, he said the State Government has taken a policy decision not to open more colleges.  Opening of schools indiscriminately, he said has caused great loss and devalued education as is felt by everybody these days.
“Similarly, we have decided to make the existing colleges as the centres of excellence and to cater to the students of far flung areas, 68 hostels are being constructed across the state,” he added. He said this would also help in promoting cultural and intellectual intermingling.
Later, the House passed the grants of Education Department, for the year 2017-18, moved by the Minister, amounting to Rs 784400.88 lakh with voice vote.