Srinagar: Despite the commencement of new academic session in schools, the government is yet to release funds to the government girls’ schools from last academic session after fee waiver for girl students’ up to class 12 was announced.
The move has left the educational institutions starving for funds as the institutions could not generate local development fund post the fee waiver order, which officials said has affected their day to day affairs.
Interestingly the Finance Minister during the last budget session announced fee waiver for all girl students enrolled in government run schools up to higher secondary level. Later the order was implemented by the school education department from academic session 2016.
“Post announcement of fee waiver, government had stated that it will keep separate budgetary provisions for girl schools and provide them funds for maintenance, minor repairs and other use including infrastructural up-gradation. However, the money was never paid to the schools,” an official said wishing not to be named.
Pertinently, all the government girls’ schools used to generate local funds out of the fee charged from students and utilize it for school maintenance. However, the fee waiver has marred the development of the educational institutions as the government has failed to feed these schools with additional funds.
“The girl schools have been left starving as the government has failed to release a single penny in favor of these schools, despite the commencement of new academic session,” the officials said.
The heads of the girls schools are also annoyed with the indifferent attitude of the government who say they have not been able to publish yearly broachers and other newsletters of the schools due to paucity of funds.
“Department has not released funds for our school in the past one year. We have not been able to upgrade laboratories and library of our institution,” said one of the Principals in Baramulla district, wishing anonymity.
The school principals said the fee charged from students was used for organizing various school level seminars. “But we have not been able to take up maintenance and civil works of the schools,” he said.
Importantly, the authorities in school education department in 2016 made it mandatory for the school heads to utilize school local funds to equip schools with fire extinguishers, electricity and other basic faculties.
“We cannot implement these instructions in letter and spirit as local fund is generated by charging fee from students. That is why we could not equip schools properly,” a group of school teachers said.
Notably, the school fee charged from students is utilized for Red Cross facility, School Improvement Fund (SIF), games fund and other utilities for maintenance of additional records.
“Irony is that fee waiver order for girls was implemented in schools without making alternate budgetary provisions for these schools. There should be some proper arrangement to make this initiative sustainable,” the teachers said.
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) GN Itoo admitted that government didn’t provide funds to girls’ schools were students were not charged fee during the current academic session.
“But the government has agreed to pay previous liability but we are not sure about their plans for the new academic session. We will take up the matter with planning department to sort out the issue,” Itoo added.