JAMMU: The government of Jammu and Kashmir has constituted a panel of officers to draft and formulate a special scholarship policy for more than 34,000 students enrolled in Seasonal Educational Centres which operate in highland pastures during the annual migration for 6 months.
The Tribal Affairs Department is working on concrete steps for incentivizing and promoting primary education among the transhumant migratory communities.
The panel headed by Special Secretary, Tribal Affairs, Mohammad Harun Malik, is comprised of Director Tribal Affairs, Mushir Ahmed Mirza, Secretary, Advisory Board, Mukhtar Ahmed, Additional Secretary, School Education Department and Deputy Directors, Tribal Affairs Department, Jammu and Kashmir. The committee will also co-opt expert members in the panel and submit report within one week.
Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, informed that as per survey conducted in 2021 a population of 6.12 Lakh undertakes biannual migration to highland pastures as well as other UTs and states. He said that more than 34,000 students have been enrolled In nearly 12,00 seasonal educational centres.
He apprised that the department has initiated the process for formulating a special scholarship scheme focused on seasonal centres in view of low enrolment at primary level and to promote primary education. The revision of scholarship rates has been pending for more than a decade and there is a need to have a special scheme for migratory students, he added. He said that the department is simultaneously working on revision of scholarship slabs for other pre-matric classes as well. Presently, the primary school students receive a meagre scholarship of Rs 450 for boys and Rs 675 for girls annually, which is being enhanced.
Pertinently, the tribal affairs department had provided highest ever scholarship of Rs 31.12 crore for financial year 2021-22 ending march 2022 wherein maximum number of tribal students were covered. The pre-matric budget of Rs 13.50 crore covered students of class I to VIII while Rs 2.22 crore were awarded to class 9th and 10 students and Rs 15.40 crore were provided to graduate and post-matric sstudents. The scholarship budget has now been further enhanced to record Rs 45.00 crore to accommodate a special scholarship scheme for students enrolled in migratory seasonal educational centres and enhancement in other classes as well. Besides, steps are also being taken up this year to provide better facilities in the seasonal educational centres.