Tribal affairs to modernise hostels in JK

Skill development courses to be mandatory for all students

SRINAGAR: With an aim to provide the best available facilities and a competitive platform to students, the J&K Tribal Affairs Department (TAD) has initiated the process for time-bound modernisation of its residential hostels in all districts concerned. The plan comprises and envisages infrastructure upgradation, technological interventions, management revamp and decentralised functioning.
Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, and Chief Executive Officer, Mission Youth J&K, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, laid out the roadmap for the ambitious hostel modernisation plan which sets strict timelines for modernisation of all hostels managed by TAD. The plan was finalised in a meeting of senior officers including among others Director Tribal Affairs Musheer Ahmed and Secretary Advisory Board Mukhtar Choudhary.
While unveiling the modernisation plan for TAD hostels, the Secretary said it includes as envisaged major revamp of the entire infrastructure and facilities to be made available at the hostels. He said stakeholders and domain experts are being roped in and will be associated with the project in order to ensure achievement of desired outcomes.
The modernisation plan is aimed at providing the best available educational facilities at department hostels. The department is also switching to a competitive selection process for admissions as part of the ambitious modernisation plan.
Under the plan, each hostel will also get a Career Counselling Centre (CCC) for mentoring the students right from their admission. CCCs shall organise 4-5 interactive sessions each month with qualifiers of competitive examinations, innovators, entrepreneurs, educationists and domain experts. Separate budget will be provided to hostels for CCCs.
The meeting was informed that skill development courses shall be mandatory for all students in the hostels. It was informed that the J&K Skill Development Mission will sign an MoU with the Tribal Affairs Department for approved courses, certification and assured placement upon completion of education in a hostel.
Infrastructure upgradation as planned will also include establishment of gymnasiums and sports clubs with all requisite equipment as a model intervention. To ensure good use, there will be regular deployment of physical fitness trainers through district administrations.
The TAD will also establish standard and digital libraries with offline and online repository of books, journals, references and documents. The existing tuition system will be replaced with online classes for which smart classrooms will be established in each hostel and one state-of-the-art studio each in Jammu and Srinagar for resource persons to connect with hostels.
Speaking in reference to this part of the modernisation plan, Dr Shahid said that there will also be a parallel process to digitise the entire J&K Board syllabus of Class VI-XII to be provided to students in tablet computers to do away with school bags. He said the department will also formulate Audio-Visual lectures as part of efforts to make education accessible and easy to understand for everyone, adding that all these facilities will be made available from the current educational year.
The Secretary has also directed for revising food menus and uniform, which currently has Rs 100/day and Rs 2200/annum allocation for each student, instructing for enhancement for ensuring better quality. It was informed that a committee headed by Director Tribal Affairs will finalise the revised menu based on standard nutritional requirement and also annual requirement of summer and winter uniform/clothing which it was informed shall be provided on priority.
It was further informed that the modernisation plan also includes installation of CCTV cameras, biometric attendance for students and staff, RO water purifiers, power backup facility, heating equipment and other amenities.
A platform for students’ feedback about services and management is also being introduced in the plan which also includes regular parent-teacher meetings and more administrative and functional powers to wardens.
The TAD will invest over 15 crore rupees on modernisation of hostels, educational support like scholarships, and providing improved standard facilities in its hostels.
During the meeting, hostel wardens were directed for conducting regular health check-up of students and mandatory enrolment under PMJAY-SEHAT scheme which provides Rs 5 lakh health cover.
The meeting was informed that all hostels shall be managed by the Tribal Affairs Department w.e.f April 2021 upon transfer of hostels from the Advisory Board for which the Director TAD was asked for comprehensive audit, asset-liabilities assessment and working out augmentation measures.
Meanwhile, all hostels have been asked to formulate a detailed professional Hostel Management Plan taking into account the proposed initiatives and targeted achievements. Performance-linked incentives for students and Annual Innovation Grant (AIG) will make a component of the modernisation plan which also includes exposure tours and study courses for both students and the management staff.
It was informed that newly recruited wardens and assistant wardens shall also undergo refresher courses for best management of hostels. A third-party evaluation of hostel management and functioning shall be done for ensuring best performance and quality services.
Joint Director Planning, Financial Advisor, OSD Mission Youth, OSD Skill Development Mission, Deputy Directors also attended the meeting. Wardens of all hostels in districts and field officers attended the meeting through videoconferencing.

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