Education dept to review in-house schooling at Gujjar-Bakerwal hostels

Education dept to review in-house schooling at Gujjar-Bakerwal hostels
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Irshad Khan

Srinagar: The School Education department will seek details from schools-where the teacher-pupil ratio (TPR) has been upset due to in-house schooling started at the nearby Gujjar and Bakerwal hostels earlier this year- to decide whether the students will be shifted back to the schools in the next academic session.
In June this year, the then Education Minister , Chowdhry Zulfikar had “verbally” as per school teachers, ordered shifting of Gujjar and Bakerwal students studying in classes 6th -8th from several middle and high schools in the state to the respective hostels for the students of the community in each district.
Although the students from the tribal community have been putting up at the hostels since their inception of the hostels in 1994, Zulfikar had issued orders for starting “in-house schooling” for the students of classes 6th-8th in early June.
Secretary School Education Department, Ajeet Kumar Sahu, who assumed charge recently, told Kashmir Reader that he will seek the details from the affected schools before taking a call on whether the in-house schooling be continued in the academic session 2019-20.
“I am not aware about the matter yet. I will have to get the information (about the schools),” Kumar said.
Asked whether the schooling at the hostels-where there is dearth of infrastructure- will be revoked in the next academic session, Kumar said, “Once I get the details, I will comment”.
“As far as pupil teacher ratio is concerned, we are in surplus. We have one teacher for 12 students that is way ahead of national average,” he added.
An official from the J&K State Advisory Board for Development of Gujjar & Bakerwals, which runs the hostels, also said recently that the schooling would be “reviewed”.
The “unilateral” decision of starting the in-house schooling by the former minister has not been received well, by the teachers as well as the students who have been shifted to the hostels.
Kashmir Reader has already reported on how the migration of the tribal students to the hostels had also upset the teacher-pupil ratio at the schools.
Besides “isolating” the students of an already deprived community, the move has also forced the shifted students to study at the already overcrowded hostels that are short of infrastructure as compared to the schools, as per teachers.
The official from the advisory board also acknowledged shortage of infrastructure at the hostels as compared to schools the students had been taken from.
“Although we have kept some facilities for them, but there cannot be the same infrastructure for schooling at the hostels as compared to schools,” the official said.
As per the official, the higher rungs in the School Education “are of the opinion that the decision to start the in-house schooling at the hostels has been taken in a hurry”.
“It was their initiative then. The School Education department had even promised to provide infrastructure at the hostels for the students,” he added.