The order for upgradation of 800 schools in Jammu and Kashmir, issued by the previous state government at the fag end of its tenure, has been kept in abeyance and is being re-examined, the J&K government said today.
“The School Education Department issued a government order in October, 2014 for upgrading 800 schools but the same was issued without prior concurrence of the Planning and Finance departments, a condition imposed by the cabinet.
“Apart from this, a number of factual inaccuracies and infirmities have been noticed and therefore, the entire issue is being re-examined in respect of feasibility vis-à-vis enrollment, distance and infrastructure available,” Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said in a written reply in the Assembly.
As per the order, 468 middle schools and 332 high schools were to be upgraded to the next higher level in the state. “None of these schools were made functional because the order was issued in disregard to the conditional approval of the cabinet,” the minister said.
Akhtar was responding to a question raised by National Conference member Javed Ahmad Rana who had sought details from the government about the status of the implementation of the order for upgradation of 800 schools. However, the minister said 150 schools have been upgraded to the next higher levels under centrally sponsored Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in the past two years.
These are 110 middle schools to high schools and 40 primary schools to upper primary. Akhtar said there was no target set for upgradation of schools for the current financial year. The minister said over 12,400 vacancies are there in the Education department and efforts are on to fill up these vacancies.
“There are 3,878 vacancies of teachers, 3,326 of masters, 3,026 of Rehbar-e-Taleem (teaching volunteers), 2,042 lecturers, 156 headmasters, 23 zonal education officers and 17 principals,” Akhtar said.
He said all posts of lecturers have been referred to the Public Service commission for making selection, while the vacancies of teachers falling under direct recruitment quota would be referred to the recruiting agencies once recruitment rules, which are under process for amendment, are finalized.
Quoting Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) data, the minister said the teacher-pupil ratio in the School Education department is 1:13.04 at primary level, 1:9.34 (upper primary) and 1:14.94 (secondary level).