Tall claims about pupils friendly measures stand exposed
JAMMU, Feb 22: Unbelievable it may sound but it is a fact that thousands of Government schools in Jammu and Kashmir are lacking toilets, drinking water and electricity facilities thereby exposing the ‘inhumane’ face of those who remained at the helm of affairs in the School Education Department.
The appalling situation in such a large number of educational institutions is notwithstanding the fact that Union Government is providing huge funding to Jammu and Kashmir under different schemes for providing these basic facilities not only to the students but to the entire population.
Moreover, these startling figures have exposed the tall claims made till now by the successive State Governments about initiating a number of pupils-friendly measures so as to ensure that the students obtain education in comfortable atmosphere.
As per the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE), a data base of schools in India developed by National University for Education Planning and Administration, a total of 1933 schools in 22 districts of the State are without boys’ toilets. Of these, 1353 are Primary, 432 Middle, 93 Secondary and 55 Higher Secondary Schools. The maximum number of such schools are in Kathua (341) followed by Kupwara (320) and Udhampur (291).
Similarly, a total of 1110 schools in 22 districts of the State are lacking girls’ toilets. Of these, 872 are Primary, 165 Middle, 38 High and 35 Higher Secondary Schools. The maximum number of such schools are in Poonch (135) followed by Pulwama (134) and Kishtwar (132). Kathua district is at 4th place with 121 schools without girls’ toilets.
Moreover, a total of 438 schools in the State are without any boys and girls’ toilets. Of these 393 are Primary, 40 Middle and 5 High Schools. The maximum number of such schools are in Poonch (81) followed by Udhampur (74) and Pulwama (70). Again Kathua district is at 4th place with 66 schools lacking boys as well as girls’ toilets.
“It is pity that despite liberal assistance from the Government of India for providing all basic facilities to the students such a large number of pupils are without toilets and they are compelled to urinate in open, which is embarrassing particularly for the female students”, some officials of the Education Department said.
The UDISE has also painted dismal scenario vis-a-vis drinking water facility as 5433 schools in the State, which include 3751 Primary, 1484 Middle, 161 High and 37 Higher Secondary Schools are without this basic necessity. The maximum number of such schools are in Poonch (709) followed by Kupwara (703) and Rajouri (632).
Notwithstanding the fact that electricity supply is imperative for providing computer education to the students in the present era of competition, a total of 16597 schools in the State are without electricity connection. Of these 10817 are Primary, 5410 Middle, 350 High and 20 Higher Secondary Schools. The maximum number of such schools are in Kupwara (1616) followed by Rajouri (1409) and Poonch (1319).
“The non-availability of electricity supply to such a large number of educational institutions is notwithstanding the fact that from time to time the Union Power Ministry launched schemes for providing electricity to each and every household and Government institution even in the most inaccessible areas”, sources said.
Lack of toilet, drinking water and electricity facilities in such a large number of schools has completely exposed the tall claims of the successive Governments about bringing turnaround in the education sector and adopting students-friendly measures, they further said.
Now, Governor’s Administration has devised a mechanism in order to overcome these infrastructural gaps.
As far as separate toilets for male and female students are concerned, required funds have been made available with the Directors of School Education and the requisition of funds recommended by the school-wise committee will be communicated by the Chief Education Officers of the concerned Directorates for completion of separate toilets for boys and girls in each school.
“Repair of non-functional toilets will also be taken up by dovetailing with available funds of Election Commission of India for the schools identified as polling stations”, said an order issued by the School Education Department, adding “for schools other than polling stations, the existing funds available with Directors concerned shall be used for making the toilets functional”.
As far as drinking water facility is concerned, the Deputy Commissioner concerned shall dovetail the available resources for this purpose. “While schools identified as polling stations can be covered through the funds made available by the Election Commission of India, the DPRs of the remaining schools district wise will be forwarded to the Secretary, School Education Department for financing through respective Directors”, the order said, adding “funds required for providing water supply shall directly be provided to the Public Health Engineering Department by the School Education Department as per the DPR”.
The order further said, “the external electricity connection to the schools including metering has to be provided by the Power Development Department under SAUBHAGYA Plus”, adding “service lines shall also be provided by the PDD but expenditure will be reimbursed by the School Education Department on raising of bills by the PDD in this regard”.
The expenditure for providing internal electric connection and fitting charges shall be made through concerned Zonal Education Officers in respect of Primary and Middle Schools, by Headmasters in respect of High Schools and by Principals in respect of the Higher Secondary Schools.
Secretary School Education Department Ajeet Kumar Sahu has asked all the Deputy Commissioners to take all necessary measures to achieve 100% saturation target of basic infrastructure in all Government schools in a time bound manner and send weekly progress reports to him.