Make education enjoyable, quality will improve automatically: Prof Mattoo

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JAMMU: Urging the State Education Department to take a leaf out of the exemplary feats of an entrepreneur who has set up a private school in a picturesque but secluded Breswana village of hilly Doda District, Advisor to the Chief Minister, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Tuesday mooted public-private partnership to help improve quality of education besides making it an enjoyable experience for our ever-resilient school-going children.
The Advisor exuded confidence that by replicating best practices of ‘role model schools’, the standard of education is bound to rise in State-run schools giving the students much-needed leverage to perform at the cutting-edge level.
Prof. Mattoo made these remarks while heaping praise on the mother-daughter duo of Tasneem Haji and Sabah Haji who are successfully running Haji Public School, situated at a distance of nearly 165 km from here, while chairing the meeting of the Designated Committee constituted to suggest measures to improve the quality of education in Government Schools as well as the literacy rate.
Principal Secretary, Higher Education, Asgar Samoon, Secretary School Education, Farooq Ahmad Shah, Secretary JK BOSE, Veena Pandita, Director School Education, Kashmir, Dr. G. N. Itoo, Director School Education, Jammu, Ravinder Singh and other senior officers of the School Education Department also attended the meeting.
Established in 2009, the Middle School is perched amidst stunning Deodar trees and has a roll of 430 students and 22 Teachers, mostly drawn locally, besides a huge network of volunteers who impart education to poor families pro bono. In the last 9 years, the School founded by Nasir Haji has attracted students from adjacent villages and even in some cases from places as far off as Kishtwar and Doda.
Showering accolades on the management of the School for effective community involvement and establishing a successful network of volunteers, the Advisor to the Chief Minister said the Committee shall finalize its roadmap for improving quality of education in Government Schools within the stipulated timeframe after taking all stakeholders on board. “We look forward to seeking cooperation of the management of Haji Public School in replicating their experiment in other districts of the State on a pilot basis, especially those falling in remote and inaccessible areas so that top quality education is given to our talented students who have the zeal to excel, provided they are given a level-playing field,” he added.
Prof. Mattoo urged Secretary School Education for expediting up-gradation of Haji Public School from Middle to High level within the next two weeks. “The Education Department has much to learn from the missionary volunteerism of Haji Public School which has made schooling such a fun for its students,” he said, while emphasizing upon regular field visits by field functionaries of the Department to improve functioning of State-run Schools in far-flung and remote areas of the State.
Secretary School Education assured the Advisor that JK BOSE shall process affiliation of the School for Classes 9th and 10th and in the meantime the School can provide provisional admission to students in anticipation of permission to run classes at secondary level.
Briefing the participants on adopting new techniques in imparting quality education, Tasneem Haji said the School has a set academic calendar that encompasses all aspects of educational activities including kinesics, personality development, extra-curricular activities and treasure trove of books in the School Library. “To provide round-the-clock internet facility in a School which requires a seven-and-a-half km horse-back ride from Prem Nagar, the School has also installed its own tower at a recurring expenditure of Rs. 1.50 lakh per annum that facilitates interactive sessions between students and teachers, besides providing connectivity to volunteers who visit the School from outside the State,” she added.

The Advisor to the Chief Minister said he will lead a delegation of senior officers to Breswana in April later this year to get a firsthand experience on successfully running a private educational enterprise in the hinterland of a remote district like Doda. He also passed instructions for co-opting Tasneem Haji as a special invitee in all future meetings of the Designated Committee. “The Committee shall welcome a brief background Note which shall be fruitful in making recommendations to the Government for improving quality of education in Government Schools,” he added.

Prof Amitabh Mattoo also fixed the next date of the meeting of the Designated Committee on March 14 to finalize its recommendation to the Government.