Students are the soul of an institution. Good enrollment is necessary for the health of an institution. The more the number of students, the more competitive and vibrant the learning and physical environment of the educational institution. An institution with a high roll leads to a better sense of belonging and interest among the teachers as well as the students. Successful schools are those which have good enrollment and peer groups.
It is a fact that government schools especially at the primary and middle level had been recording low enrollment for the last many years. Multiple reasons are attributed to this which already have been discussed at various fora. Government schools seemed to have lost their sheen and acceptance in society. Despite having the best human resource available, the government schools continued to lag behind in enrolling children at the pace needed.
Under such circumstances, the need of the hour was to bring back the lost shine of government schools. As such, a programme needed to be initiated at a mass level with an awareness campaign regarding facilities, like the best human resource, highly furnished ICT labs, science labs, math labs or schemes like free lunch, free textbooks, free uniforms and scholarships, and sports equipment. People of the education department needed to lead from the front.
Former Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Ghulam Nabi Yatoo took the initiative and channelized the resources and strength of the department for a mega enrollment drive. Services of every teacher were utilised for the said purpose. The DSEK along with the teachers worked tirelessly and launched campaigns through print, electronic and social media. Teachers went door to door and received an overwhelming response from parents. Many parents were motivated to admit their children in government schools. According to official figures, about one lakh children were admitted in government schools in the last year all due to this mega enrollment drive. This increased the faith of people in government schools.
Continuing the process this year, the enrollment drive campaign was led from the front by the Current DSEK, Tasuduq Hussain, under the guidance of the dynamic leadership of Commissioner Secretary, School Education, B.K. Singh. Massive enrollment drives were launched by the DSEK himself. Teachers and schools responded by creating enrollment drive posters, songs and banners. Chief Education Officers, Principals, Headmasters, and teachers along with non-teaching staff launched the enrollment drives in their respective districts and zones. Setting up an extraordinary precedence, the Director himself visited far-flung areas of various districts, becoming part of enrollment drive roadshows where he walked many kilometers to reach to the parents. In the outreach programs of the director, teachers made every possible effort to make the enrollment drive a success. Putting to rest the myth that government school teachers themselves don’t enroll their children in government schools, a large number of such teachers admitted their children in government schools in the presence of the Director. At many schools, the Director himself admitted the children of government school teachers in schools.
The best part of these enrollment drives was the humble and friendly approach adapted by the DSEK Tasuduq Hussain. In the enrollment drives the Director was seen having lunch with the students. At some places the Director was seen hugging and kissing young buds while at other place distributing free studying kits among the students, thereby instilling a sense of self-worth and esteem among both students and their parents. In zone Awantipora of Pulwama district, the Director was seen travelling in a boat to reach the people residing on the banks of Jehlum to motivate the parents to enroll their children in government schools.
The trend is now surely changing and government schools are seeing a new dawn under the guidance of Commissioner Secretary BK Singh and DSEK Tasuduq Hussain. The time is not far when government schools will bloom with students. Nearly ten-thousand students from private schools have moved to government schools and hundreds of dropouts have been brought back to schools in the enrollment drives just this year. A large number of children with special needs (CWSN) have also been admitted to government schools. An estimated seventy-five thousand students have been admitted to government schools till date in the mega enrollment drive this year and the process is still on.
—The writer is a teacher and core member of JKGLTF