Altaf for collective efforts, constructive engagement to mend education sector

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 23:  Terming education as cog-in-the-wheel of progress at all levels, Minister for Education Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari today said despite many odds and varied challenges the Government succeeded to putting decrepit education system back on track and the recent board results in Kashmir offer a silver lining amid the dark clouds.
Winding up the discussion on Demand for Grants of the Education and allied departments, the Minister stressed on engaging in a constructive dialogue on improving the contours of the education sector and emphasized that it requires all of us to rise above political affiliations and considerations.
Admitting it was hard to bring a discernible change on the ground in the backdrop of huge gaps and challenges posed by law and order situation, he said, “to paint a rosy picture won’t be the right thing”. He, however, said that investment in education would mean investment in the future of the children.
“Considering this fact, Government has decided on three-fold increase in the CAPEX Budget of School Education Department for the year 2018-19, “the Minister said. He reminded the members of the series of marathon constituency-wise meetings taken by him to review the education sector.
“I hope that the members by now must have framed a blueprint of their respective constituencies as the ownership of education in their areas has already been vested in them during these meetings,” he asserted and said one of the first steps in strategic partnership with the Legislators and MPs can take towards upgrading infrastructure in education sector will be their commitment to contribute Rs 1 crore each out of their CDF and MPLAD grants towards education sector.
He assured that the funds provided shall be spent as per the demands of the Legislators and Parliamentarians in their respective constituencies. He informed the house that the State Cabinet has given nod to the up-gradation of 400 schools from Middle to High and High to Higher Secondary level and establishment of 17 new degree colleges in the State.
The Minister informed that to compensate the loss of time of students of schools and colleges due to frequent disruptions, his Ministry is seriously considering notifying a separate ‘Education Calendar’ that minimises holidays and enables the teachers to complete their syllabi well in time. He sought support of the people in safeguarding the education sector from frequent disruptions and called for exempting teachers from all non-academic duties in the larger interest of the student community.
He said that the additional corpus of Rs 100 crore with contribution of the MLAs and MPs was to make them partners in the development of education system in the State. He called for spending the generated money on fencing and creating other facilities for security of the students and prevent outside interference.
Sharing the views of the members to revisit the present education system, the Minister acknowledged that J&K students have great potential. “With this view vocational education is being imparted in 10 trades viz.,  IT/ ITES, Retail, Healthcare, Travel & Tourism, Agriculture, Telecommunications, Physical Education, Beauty and wellness  Media & Entertainment and Security”, he added.
Calling for being more liberal while funding educational infrastructure, he said majority of the Government schools are in a pathetic state and lack even basic facilities like electricity, drinking water, lavatories, ramps, playgrounds, computer-aided labs and tools of modern learning like Smart Classrooms.
“Unless we address this huge infrastructural gap, any false promise of revamping the educational sector shall remain an absurd pretence and nothing more than a charade”, he said, adding “School Education Department requires additional funding to the tune of Rs 2500 crore towards renovation of existing infrastructure facilities. Similarly in the Higher Education sector, which is a relatively new Department, there is an urgent requirement of around Rs. 1300 crore, to bridge over infrastructure gap”.
“To implement this perspective plan, a first tranche of Rs 400 crore in School Education Department and Rs 200 crore in Higher Education Department is immediately required to set the ball rolling”, he added.
Citing that there was an urgent need to construct around 3200 additional classrooms in high and higher secondary Schools and 5500 classrooms in primary and upper primary, as per present enrolment, the Minister said the department needs more than this.
Listing the measures taken to reform examination process, the Minister said J&K State Board of School Education has to play a pivotal role.
“We have a zero tolerance policy towards unfair means and have recently suspended several officers and officials on invigilation duty for not performing diligently. Some of them have also been handed life-time bans from performing such duties in future. We have also reconstituted the Board of Governors of JK BOSE and I exude confidence that it shall take effective steps in improving the quality of textbooks and hold time-bound examinations in a fair and transparent manner”, he said.
Reiterating Government’s commitment to address the issues of teachers, the Minister said that they are facing the career progression and to address this problem he has requested to Chief Minister to sanction a Special Human Resource Management (HRM) branch in the department to address the issue of cadre management.
Earlier, during the debate Sat Paul Sharma  asked for infrastructure upgradation in all educational institutions in his constituency and rationalization of staff in the schools to maintain the student- teacher ratio.
Mian Altaf Ahmad  demanded filling of vacant posts of teachers, up-gradation of Degree College Kangan, development of sports infrastructure in educational institutions and establishment of Model Schools in his constituency.
Javaid Hassan Beigh  called for rationalization of staff and suggested to incentivize rural postings, devising a transfer policy and rationalization of staff especially in rural areas.
Asgar Ali Karbalai urged the Government to fill the vacant posts of Principals, HoDs, lecturers and masters in district Kargil. He demanded rationalization of staff, appointment of subject specific teachers for secondary classes and appealed to have a separate budgetary provision for maintenance of Government educational institutions.
Hakeem Mohammad Yasin  called for further improvement in strengthening the infrastructure and human resource of the educational institutions. He underscored the need for posting Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) and Chief Education Officers (CEOs) on the basis of merit.
Neelam Langeh demanded up-gradation of educational institutions and opening of Girls Higher Secondary School, Degree College and adequate staff in all education institutions in Ramban Constituency. He urged the Government to delink teacher fraternity from election duties for better results.
Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi urged the Government to maintain proper monitoring of private educational institutions with regard to unabated fee hike.
Mohammad Khalil Band  demanded for opening of new schools, improvement in infrastructure in all educational institutions in Pulwama constituency. Dalden Namgyal  demanded adequate staff for Degree College in Noobra, filling of vacant posts, renovation of dilapidated school buildings and rationalization of staff to ensure adequate staff strength in schools of far flung areas.
M Y Tarigami urged to make education affordable for all. He also urged to devise long term plans to turn the universities and colleges into the institutes of excellence by upgrading the quality of education being provided in these institutions.
Shakti Raj Parihar  called for taking steps to increase literacy rate in the State especially in the districts of Doda, Ramban and Banihal. He demanded PG classes in University Camps in Doda, opening of Degree College in Marmar area, filling of vacant posts on priority.
Ali Mohammad Sagar stressed on the need to put heads together to devise a curriculum for the children to improve the quality of education besides imbibing the moral values, scientific temperament and tolerance in the next generation. He also demanded improvement of infrastructure of schools in his constituency including Madr-e-Meherban school for students belonging to Gujjar Bakerwal community.
Abdul Rahim Rather called for revisiting the syllabus in the schools to meet the modern day needs, introduction of moral education besides laying special focus on state’s official language Urdu. He also urged to reduce age limit for getting admission in primary level up to 3 years, introducing play way method in primary schools.
Aijaz Ahmad Khan urged to lay stress on improving the quality of research work in universities and ensure liberal funding to these universities for research purpose besides ensuring delivery of quality education in schools especially in rural areas to avoid migration of rural people to urban areas for education purpose.
Pawan Kumar Gupta  demanded shifting of HSS for Girls to Old Teachers Training School at Udhampur, staff in GHSS Barta, enhancement of budget in education sector for the current year in Jammu division and adequate staff in all educational institutions of Udhampur.
Jeevan Lal  demanded opening of Degree College in Bani area, adequate staff for all educational institutions of his constituency, filling up of vacant posts including lecturers and rationalization of staff in schools of his constituency.
Bashir Ahmad Dar asked the Government to further streamline the functioning of the department on the ground, ensuring adequate staff for schools in rural areas and improving the student-teacher ratio. Javid Ahmad Rana  demanded for regularization of ReTs working in Poonch district, acquiring land for university and opening of new schools in his constituency.
Yawar Ahamd Mir  urged the Government for brining change in private education system. He said efficient teaching staff is available in the Government schools but the students are not competing with private schools and hence Government needs to work on the issue to improve quality of education.
G M Saroori  asked the Government to lay focus on Gojri, Kashmiri and Persian languages in schools, providing adequate teaching staff for all educational institutes running in the Inderwal Constituency especially Marwah, Dachan and Paddar areas.
Choudhary Sukhnandan Kumar demanded opening of Degree College in his constituency besides filling of various vacant posts in educational institutions in his constituency. Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi  asked the Government for further improvement in the system and called for rationalization of private run educational institutions besides focusing on co-curricular activities in Kashmir Valley.
Vikar Rasool Wani said that by introducing SSA in the State revolutionary changes seen in education sector on ground which helped in increasing the literacy rate. He said, similarly, under RMSA, various new schools were established and demanded for speeding up of pace of construction work on on-going school buildings to complete them in a stipulated time.
Altaf Ahmad Wani hoped that the Education Minister would further improve the working of the education sector in the State and called for framing of transfer policy for ReTs.
Mubarak Gul  asked the Government to ensure adequate staff in the schools along with the necessary facilities like electricity, drinking water, sanitation etc. He demanded for speeding up pace of work on all on-going school buildings in Eidgah constituency.
Daleep Singh Parihar  demanded for providing adequate teaching staff and posting of Headmasters in his constituency. Raja Manzoor Ahmad demanded adjustment of one person who donated land to Education Department and urged for taking steps to improve literacy date.
Shamim Firdous demanded creation of more posts in Media Department of University of Kashmir and up-gradation of infrastructure in all existing educational institutions of Habakadal constituency.
Mohammad Akbar Lone  demanded opening of Degree College at Hajin. He stressed for expediting the pace of work on construction of Auditorium and Canteen of Degree College Sumbal. He also called for early releasing of funds for ongoing school buildings of Sumbal constituency.
Choudhary Mohammad Akram  asked the Government for speeding up of construction work on building for University Camps, shifting of Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Surankote and developing of play grounds in all educational institutions.
Abdul Majid Padder  demanded adequate teaching staff and school buildings in his constituency. Usman Majeed demanded upgradation of infrastructure of GDC Bandipora, Women’s College for Bandipora, detachment of masters/ teachers posted in other districts and engagement of chowkidars.
Shah Mohammad Tantray appealed the Government for opening of Degree College in his constituency to cater the students who have to travel more than 20 kilometres and also urged to provide Urdu teachers in government schools to promote state language.
Sheikh Abdul Jabbar demanded to have inert-state tours for students to streamline Prime Minister’s scholarships. Noor Mohammad Sheikh urged the Government to revive Village Education Committees and demanded upgradation of school infrastructure.
Abdul Majid Larmi demanded establishment of Degree College in Homshalibug and a Women College in Kulgam district, fencing of various schools, demolition of unsafe school buildings especially in Qoimoh, Shamsipora, Lotipora.
Dr Davinder Kumar Manyal asked the Government to revive teacher- parent meeting in Government schools and demanded to have a school from nursery to High School in every constituency.
Choudhary Qamar Hussain demanded liberal funding for Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University. Anjum Fazili demanded renovation of schools damaged in 2014 floods besides improving the infrastructure of existing.