Govt sees scam in ‘reckless opening’ of SSA schools by past regimes

DSEK asks CEOs to furnish report within 10 days
Representational Image
Representational Image File/ GK

Srinagar: The government has ordered an in-depth inquiry into the opening of schools under the erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme in J&K sensing that it was a “scam by past regimes to accommodate their political workers”.

The move comes in the wake of a complaint received by the School Education Department (SED) regarding the opening of SSA primary schools in gross violation of set norms.

In wake of this, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) in an official communication has asked all the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to submit the report to the directorate within 10 days.

The government in the past merged hundreds of SSA primary schools and some Upper Primary Schools (UPS) which had zero or meager enrollment of students in these institutions.

As per the departmental surveys, most of the SSA schools were opened in villages and other areas without following the set parameters.

The successive regimes established these schools haphazardly which defeated the purpose of the scheme.

Meanwhile, the CEOs have instructed the concerned Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) to furnish the list of primary schools opened under SSA since the inception of the scheme.

The ZEOs have been asked to furnish the details of student enrolment in these institutions as well.

“Further you may also intimate this office how many schools among these have been clubbed and reasons for clubbing thereof,” reads a circular issued by CEO Bandipora.

The government is mulling investigating the opening of the presently clubbed SSA schools as well.

“Intimate whether the primary schools, which are currently clubbed, were feasible for opening at the relevant point of time,” the circular reads.The ZEOs have been asked to furnish the requisite information to the concerned CEO offices within three days positively, “so that in-depth inquiry as desired is conducted into the matter”.

Over 2500 SSA primary and UPS were clubbed by the government in 2015 for having meager or zero enrollment in these institutions.

The School Education Department (SED) earlier initiated the process to identify the persons and declare them responsible for “bringing disrepute to the department” on account of a “devastating decline” in student enrollment in government schools resulting in the merger of all such institutions.

The move came after the J&K government ordered the merger of more than 700 government schools for having zero or meager enrollment of students.

Before this, around 2400 government schools were clubbed during the process of rationalisation of schools for having zero or meager enrollment of students.

The process was initiated after the Anti-Corruption Bureau received a complaint against the department for leaving the school buildings “unattended and in shambles”.

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