Jammu: Surprising it may sound but it is true. More than half of the government buildings housing the schools are in a rundown situation posing a serious risk for the school children who are being taught there.
Around 11000 school buildings are in dilapidated conditions in the state while as 3000 schools are operating from rented accommodation.
Replying to a question raised by NC MLA, Muhammad Shafi Uri during the question hour in the assembly on Saturday, the education minister Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari said,
“Government has 23773 schools out of which 11000 buildings are in dilapidated conditions, 3000 schools were operating from rented accommodations in the state,” he said.
As if this was not enough, the Minister said that around 36 schools were without school buildings.
The minister also informed the House that around 8405 vacancies- 3600 masters, 4400 teachers, 99 Principals and 306 headmasters were lying vacant in the department.
“We are trying to fill the posts of Principals, headmasters and masters through promotions and also hope that the recruitment agencies expedite the process for recruitment of teachers as well,” the minister said. “And recruitment of Urdu masters is a priority with the department,” he added.
The education minister told the House that education sector was a concern for the ruling and opposition members and needs to be taken forward with joint efforts.
“I understand the concern of opposition members about vacancies of headmasters which are being managed by interim arrangements by the department,” he said and urged the opposition members to “patiently” listen to him during his reply on grants for the education.
“I want to share my department’s issues with you as it is equally a concern for you and we can together make it better,” he told the opposition members in the House.
The minister was responding to the supplementary questions raised by the legislators from opposition parties.
“They (opposition) are right that my department has vacancies but we are working to overcome the problem.”
The education minister also informed the House that there was no provision of providing compensation to the owners who provide the land for the construction of school buildings. “But the government has decided to provide employment to the people who have donated more than one kanal of land and I expect that the process will be expedited,” the minister told the House.
The education minister said that two high schools out of 22 in Uri constituency were without headmasters. “32 posts of masters are also lying vacant in these schools and the services of senior masters are provided to the headless high schools falling in the Uri constituency,” Altaf Bukhari said.
About the reasons for not posting headmasters and masters in the schools, Bukhari said the administrative department was constrained by the advisory issued by general administration department (GAD) in light of Supreme Court directions wherein instructions have been given to keep the slots, meant for reserved category employees, vacant till the matter is finally heard and disposed off.
“In light of this department is unable to fill the vacancies at different levels including 100 headmasters in Kashmir,” he said.
The education minister also said 622 masters have been recently cleared for confirmation by DPC and vacant positions of masters including that in Uri shall be filled very soon.