Srinagar: The J&K government this year has decided to work out an academic calendar for government schools from primary higher secondary level in order to have maximum number of working days in schools during an academic session.
The development comes months after the government schools in Kashmir remained shut for maximum number of days during the last academic session in Kashmir after campuses erupted against forces action on students of Pulwama Degree College on April 15. The closure of the schools was prolonged by the killing of militants in various encounters that occurred in different parts of state.
Notably, the government was of the view that the schools remained closed in Kashmir because educational institutions were ‘politicized by separatist leaders’.
But if one goes with the past experience, the academics in government schools was affected even after Kashmir witnessed a peaceful situation. The year 2015 was comparatively peaceful however, most of the government primary and upper primary schools have attended less than 200 and 220 working days respectively during that academic session.
Almost 42 percent of government primary schools and 84 percent of upper primary schools had less than 200 and 220 working days in their academic session during 2015-16. This has been revealed in Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) report prepared during the year 2015-16.
“Academic is hit due to natural calamity as well as political interference. 2015 was peaceful but still our schools couldn’t witness 220 maximum working days,” an official said wishing not to be named.
“If Kashmir witness incessant rainfall or any other inclement weather development, our schools get closed. The reason is that our government schools don’t have proper infrastructural facilities for students due which institutions remain closed in any kind of awkward situation,” he said.
It may be recalled that the school education department had to close all educational institutions in 2015 for consecutive four days from March 30- April 02, in wake of rains causing flood like situation in valley. Most of the educational institutions were inundated.
Meanwhile, the DISE 2015-16 report has also revealed that only 25.35 percent government primary schools have enrollment of above 150 students while as 28.76 percent upper primary schools have above 100 students in their schools across J&K state.
“The reason is obvious. Our schools don’t have any facility which will attract students or their parents to admit their ward in government schools. That is why government schools don’t witness increased enrollment up to middle classes,” the official said. Education minister Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari said the situation in government schools has improved from past year however, the sector gets influenced by various reasons.
“From government side we are trying our best to improve the educational standards and keep the students our prime focus,” he said.
Bukhari said the government has taken various initiatives to provide academic facilities to students enrolled in government.
“From past years, our schools remain open in winter months to provide free tuition to students. We can’t change the system overnight but it is a long term process to overhaul the education sector and I am hopeful to succeed on every front,” he said.