Govt for separate ‘Edu Calendar’ to cut holidays: Min

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ReT teachers to be brought under transfer policy soon

Jammu: The Minister for Education Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday said that to compensate the loss of time of students of schools and colleges due to frequent disruptions, his Ministry is seriously considering notifying a separate ‘Education Calendar’ that minimises holidays and enables the teachers to complete their syllabi well in time.
For this he also sought support of the people in safeguarding the education sector from frequent disruptions and called for exempting teachers from all non-academic duties in the larger interest of the student community.
This was disclosed by Minister for Education Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, while winding up the discussion on Demand for Grants of the Education and allied Departments under his charge and responding to the points raised by the legislators,
He said investment in education would mean investment in the future, and keeping this in mind the government has decided on three-fold increase in the CAPEX Budget of School Education Department for the year 2018-19, “the Minister said.
He hoped that Legislators and MPs too will contribute Rs 1 crore each out of their CDF and MPLAD grants towards education sector that shall be spent as per the demands of the Legislators and Parliamentarians in their respective constituencies.
He said that we cannot afford to make our students suffer for this, teachers have to be discharged from all non-teaching assignments, including election-related duties,” he said.
The minister informed the house that the State Cabinet has given nod to the up-gradation of 400 schools from Middle to High and High to Higher Secondary level and establishment of 17 new degree colleges in the State.
The Minister said the state cannot lose focus unless remedial measures are taken, education can become the first casualty of any conflict situation.
“It was not easy to bring back the students from the streets to the classrooms where they actually belong. Despite extreme provocation, I take great pride in stating that not a single FIR was registered against the protesting students’ last year.” he said. adding that the House should know that our students, especially adolescents, are passing through difficult times and require our handholding even called for involving them in decision-making processes.
Bukhari suggested for forming ‘Student Councils’ which shall monitor the affairs of schools and colleges. He said the government will welcome vibrant collective participation in spirit of the democratic setup where all people have the right to voice their concerns in a peaceful manner.
He said that the additional corpus of Rs 100 crore with contribution of the MLAs and MPs was to make them partners in the development of education system in the State. He suggested for creation of a simple mechanism for watch-and-ward of Schools by way of engaging chowkidars.
He said with this view vocational Education is being imparted in 10 trades viz., IT/ ITES, Retail, Healthcare, Travel & Tourism, Agriculture, Telecommunications, Physical Education, Beauty and wellness Media & Entertainment and Security. It shall be my endeavour to broaden the scope of trades after proper mapping.
He said for enhancing employability of college pass outs, various Skill Development Courses have been introduced.
Calling for being more liberal while funding educational infrastructure, he said majority of the government Schools are in a pathetic state and lack even basic facilities like electricity, drinking water, lavatories, ramps, playgrounds, computer-aided labs and tools of modern learning like Smart Classrooms.
“Unless we address this huge infrastructural gap, any false promise of revamping the educational sector shall remain an absurd pretence and nothing more than a charade. After carrying out detailed assessment of existing infrastructure gap, it has been assessed that the School Education Department requires additional funding to the tune of Rs. 2500 crore towards renovation of existing infrastructure facilities. Similarly in the Higher Education sector, which is a relatively new Department, there is an urgent requirement of around Rs. 1300 crore, to bridge over infrastructure.
“To implement this perspective plan, a first tranche of Rs 400 crore in School Education Department and Rs. 200 crore in Higher Education Department is immediately required to set the ball rolling” he added.
He, however, said under Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the Central flagship scheme, the government is trying to address key areas to make the institutes of higher learning centres of excellence. He said apart from narrowing down infrastructure gaps, the quality of education imparted to the students in Schools remains of paramount importance adding under the flagship programmes of Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), learning outcomes are being used as tools of assessment standards indicating the expected levels of learning that children should achieve for that class, he added.
“After all, it is our children who are enrolled in these Schools. Let us not be parochial and see these 5300 Schools as competitors or rivals but as real partners in the field of education.”
He, however, said that there are certain issues with the functioning of the private schools which we are looking into, especially the one related to regulation of fee structure, purchase of textbooks and school uniforms for which this House has expressed concern. “To address this, the School Education Department is actively considering bringing in legislation to regulate fee structure of all private educational institutions in the State so that we do not see these only as profiteering tuck-shops, as the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed” the Minister added.
Listing the measures taken to reform examination process, the Minister said J&K State Board of School Education has to play a pivotal role.He said performance of government schools in recent board exam results in Kashmir offer a silver linings which holds hope for future. He said that the credit of success of students also goes to the teaching staff for motivating them to return to their classrooms.
However, he called for some corrective measures for further improvement and noted that it is matter of concern that despite having most qualified teachers there was a yawning gap in the overall results of Government Schools in comparison to private schools.
Reiterating government’s commitment to address the issues of teachers, the Minister said that they are facing the career progression and to address this problem he has requested to Chief Minister to sanction a Special Human Resource Management (HRM) branch in the Department to address the issue of cadre management.
He informed that around 933 new Lecturers in various disciplines have joined the Department and have been posted in various Schools, while 1409 new Assistant Professors have been appointed in the Higher education Department. He said that 469 more posts of Assistant Professors in various disciplines have been referred to PSC for selection of suitable candidates.
He said to address staff dearth in the school education, around 2154 posts of Teachers and 1296 posts of non-teaching staff have been referred to SSB for fast-track recruitment.
He further informed that the education ministry was actively considering bringing in Regularized Rehbar-e-Taleem Teachers (RRTs) under the ambit of the extant transfer policy so that they do not feel left out.
On filling up of vacant posts of ReTs, he said that the department has undertaken fresh exercise for rationalization in the Department and till it completes new ReT recruitment has been kept on hold.
Later, the House passed grants amounting to Rs 882755.90 lakh for Education, Youth Services & Sports, Technical Education and allied Departments with voice vote.