JAMMU: The state government has recently approved 17 new degree colleges to be established in the uncovered areas of the state, Minister for Education, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari stated on Tuesday.
“The locations for setting up these colleges are being worked out by the department keeping in view the availability of land, preferably state land, feasibility of demand, including sufficient number of feeding higher secondary schools in the particular area,” he informed the legislative assembly.
He said government endeavours to start the academic activities in the newly sanctioned colleges as soon as possible, an official handout read.
The minister was replying to clubbed questions by Kuldeep Raj and Usman Majeed seeking establishment of degree college in their respective constituencies.
In his reply to another question by Rajiv Sharma, the minister informed the House that the government has referred the vacancies under direct quota to the recruitment agencies to overcome the shortage of teaching and non-teaching staff in government schools, including Akhnoor constituency, the handout read.
“In respect of vacant posts of non-teaching staff falling under promotion quota, the department has accorded sanction to the promotion of Class-IV staff in the category of lab attendants, etc.,” he said.
Replying to a specific query, the minister informed that “of 1016 sanctioned teacher posts 96 are vacant in Akhnoor constituency, while 21 posts of masters are vacant out of the sanctioned strength of 216”.
The minister said that the government also engages lecturers, teachers and non-teaching staff on academic arrangement basis when the need arises. He, however, said there was no policy for their regularisation, as “the engagement is co-terminus with the academic session”.
About on-going educational infrastructure projects, the minister informed that 21 projects have been taken up under district and state plan in Akhnoor constituency at an estimated cost of Rs. 2.35 crore, against which an amount of Rs. 1.40 crore stands spent.
In addition, 10 school buildings have been approved under upgradation component and another two school buildings under strengthening component in the constituency under RMSA to improve the overall education infrastructure, said the minster.
Regarding regulation of fee in private educational institutions, the minister informed that on the basis of complaints from various quarters about arbitrary enhancement of fee by private schools, the Supreme Court had issued directions in the case titled Islamia Academy of Education V/s State of Karnataka to constitute a Committee for fixation of fee structure of private educational institutions in each state, further read the handout.
“Pursuant to the directions of the Apex Court, a committee was also constituted in the J&K State in 2013 with the mandate to regulate fee structure in private educational institutions. But in view of legal implications, the committee could not become fully functional,” he added.
However, the minister said that the government was actively considering bringing a bill to enact a law for regulation of fee structure of private educational institutions and to check profiteering and commercialisation by them as prohibited by the Supreme Court.
“A draft Bill on Fixation of Fee Structure of Private Educational Institutions in the state has been prepared and shall be brought in the legislature in due course of time,” said the minister.