After union HRD minister-Smriti Irani accentuated the issue of ‘pupil less’ schools in the Jammu and Kashmir, state education department has started rationalizing and clubbing schools having ‘nil to less’ student ratio.
Talking to Newspoint, Director School Education Jammu, Samita Sethi said that they have already taken up the issue seriously and are now keeping eye on schools, which have been missed from the first process of rationalizing.
“We have already rationalized or merged schools having less or no students, despite having teachers and infrastructure. Many schools have been shut down, while as in many cases classes/schools have been merged,” she said and added till date they have succeeded in improving the situation, while much has to be done.
She further said that as this is massive job, time consumption is evident. “The department is keeping an eye on schools which are not rationalized and we are working in a team to make education system better,” added Smita Sethi.
However, sources in the education department maintained that many schools, as notified by the state government student-less, are still un touched.
“There are many schools in the rural Jammu which are running without students, but have adequate teachers and infrastructure,” said sources, adding that the department is working in the center while as peripheries remained untouched.
“It is true that the education department has carried out improvement drive to either shut or merge schools without students, but this drive remained confined upto city schools, while as rural schools remain untouched,” sources said and added that last year the education Minister Naeem Akhter had disclosed that they are running many schools with lot of teachers but no students at all.
“The zero-enrolment schools in J&K are a more challenging situation. These include 26 in Jammu, six in Kathua, Ramban and Rajouri, three each in Udhampur and Poonch, seven in Kishtwar, 12 in Budgam, 19 in Shopian, 24 in Pulwamma, 15 in Kulgam and eight in Kupwara,” said sources, quoting minister.
Sources further said, “We have number of such zero-roll schools at 57 in Jammu and 89 in Kashmir.”
Keeping under consideration the pathetic situation, J&K’s School Education department has clubbed or merged schools in the past 16 months due to lack of basic facilities in these institutions. Most of these schools have been shifted from one village to the other.
Sources said clubbing of schools took place after outcry over lack of basic facilities there.
But most of these schools have been shifted from one village to another, creating more problems for students.
“We were demanding basic facilities in our school but the department clubbed it with another school. This is sheer non-application of mind and also injustice with our children,” a group of locals said.
Locals criticized the government for not providing funds to these schools for infrastructure development.