Ironies of plenty: Classes empty in Baramulla as schools opened in excess of need

Ironies of plenty: Classes empty in Baramulla as schools opened in excess of need
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Irshad Khan

Srinagar: Indicating the sorry state of affairs in the School Education Department, several classes at schools in many education zones of Baramulla district have zero enrolment, sources revealed.
In the ongoing academic session, 2018-19, the entire Class 6th “is missing” at Middle School, Sriwarpora, in the district’s Nihalpora education zone, a teacher posted in the North Kashmir district told Kashmir Reader.
At Primary School, Rather Mohalla, in Guyiwa area of the same education zone, the official said that there was zero enrolment in Class 5th.
Middle School, Badipora, in Tangmarg zone of the North Kashmir district also has not even a single student enrolled in Class 6th, said the official.
In the same education zone, Class 5th at Primary School, Khan Mohalla, Chonti Pathri, “does not exist” as per a teacher.
Besides the said schools, the teacher said, “There are many more schools (in Baramulla district) where some classes do not exist at all.” Calling the zero percent enrolment in the classes in Nihalpora education zone an “irony”, a local from the area told Kashmir Reader that a girl student from the same education zone had topped the Class 10th annual examination a couple of years ago.
The reason for the zero enrolment in the classes was that the government had “unnecessarily opened schools in violation of the laid-down norms” the official said. “Within a radius of say 1 km, where there should have ideally been one school, there are as many as four to five schools, thus affecting the infrastructure,” the official said.
“Had the schools been opened as per the laid-down criteria, it would have improved the schools’ infrastructure,” he added.
“In Guyiwa, there are as many as five or six primary and middle schools within a radius of just half a kilometre. Same is the case with Sriwarpora area. Even after the government clubbed the schools in Sriwarpora, there is still the problem of below par enrolment there.”
A top-rung official said that a large number of schools had been opened across the Valley where hundreds of Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers (ReTs) were recruited “on political grounds” which, he said, led to the dearth of infrastructure at the schools.
Admitting to the zero enrolment in different classes at “some schools” in the district, Chief Education Officer, Baramulla, Abdul Ahad Ganai said that the issue was being sorted out.
“Maybe a particular class is missing, but there is a good overall enrolment at the schools,” Ganai said.
Ganai informed that Middle School, Sriwarpora, had been upgraded to a high school “through internal arrangement”, as the official procedure for the school upgradation is still on.
An official posted in the district said that the schools had been set up in excess as compared to the prescribed norms. “They have set up schools everywhere, so there is a meagre enrolment. I know some schools where the is enrolment is as low as 50, even after clubbing four to five schools,” added the official.