Part I | Education and Educator: Issues and Solutions

Government can take a lot of measures to revamp education system
Part I | Education and Educator: Issues and Solutions
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Education is considered as the backbone of any developed and enlightened society. No society can in the remotest of its thinking ignore making clear and ample preparations for imparting quality education to its populace. Education with every passing decade is showing visible advancement in our society. National literacy rate is on the rise, educational institutions are increasing in number helping the nation in increasing the intellectual strength of the society and adding on the knowledge pool to secure the future generations.

The government schools have always remained the fundamental means of education for the children of poor masses in India. J&K too follows the national trend in imparting education to the poor masses in government schools who can hardly afford education in private schools and institutions. Even though modernization and privatization is a major contributor to education but on the other side government is not lagging behind when it comes in providing education to the marginalized section of the society.

Private institutions have been front runners in providing result oriented education in our state, and we see many success stories when we talk about private schools and institutions. But that does not make them immune to controversies. Private schools have become den of exploitation by demanding high admission and annual fee. With that kind of attitude it has become not only difficult but next to impossible for the poor to get admission in these institutions. Hence they look at government schools to enlighten themselves and reap the benefits of education.

Government has been doing a lot in imparting education among the masses. We witness an increase in average national literacy rate. Spending on education sector has improved significantly. New schemes have come into existence for easy accessible education and a lot of work is being done to improve infrastructure of government run schools and educational institutions in the state. The department of school education has introduced state/center sponsored schemes like-SSA that is primarily for imparting compulsory and free education up to elementary level and includes opening/up-gradation of schools for elementary education, 100% enrollment in educational institutions, providing of infrastructural facilities. The department also provides free of cost textbooks from first primary to eighth class, mid day meal scheme is operational in providing free meals from class first to eighth for the physical development of students.

For strengthening education at secondary and higher secondary educational institutions centrally sponsored scheme RMSA (Rashtriya Madyamik Shiksha Abhyan) was started and includes: up gradation of Middle Schools to High Schools, providing infrastructural facilities to High schools.

KGBVs (Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidayalayas) have been opened in different parts of state and even girls hostels have been sanctioned by Govt. of India. Efficient officers in administration and teachers in the department have been tirelessly working round the clock to improve the overall scenario of the education sector.

All said, yet a lot has to be done and introspection becomes imperative in dealing with these issues. Government schools have been marred by a lot of issues that are eating into the vitals of our educational institution in general, and elementary schools in particular. Some of the issues we need to give a serious thought to are as under:

Jammu and Kashmir is passing through a turbulent phase since past three decades. The turmoil has hardly left any section of the society untouched, and it has hardly left any sector from its devastating effect. It would not be wrong to say that education became its prime victim. With the migration of Kashmiri Pandits to other parts of the country in early 90s we have lost a breed of top Educators/teachers who did hold a lot of respect among the masses for their grit and wisdom. They earned this respect by their selfless devotion towards education. We lost a lot of time as well as precious academic sessions year after year due to shutdowns, curfews and bloody encounters between militants and security forces throughout the state, and particularly in Kashmir valley. Lot of students moved to different parts of country to get proper education, yet majority of the poor masses had to rely on government run institutions. This process continues till date with some temporary relief and this amounts to the unresolved nature of the Kashmir issue and the issues of Kashmir.

Coming back to the basic issues that encounter government education system today we can say that a lot has been done in improving the baseline infrastructure; new school buildings, toilet facilities, drinking water etc., but still we see that government schools are unable to attract parental attention, hence lag in enrollment of the children in large numbers. The problem is grave in urban and semi-urban areas of the state and it trickles down to rural areas but with lesser impact. Lack of quality school building and missing school play grounds with some exceptions here and there have an adverse effect on the psyche of the children that come to these schools for admission. Lack of both, keeps them away in getting enrolled in government schools. This can be justified by taking into consideration that the officers and officials who work in government departments too find it difficult to get their children enrolled in govt schools and their first preference always is private schools. The only reason being that they too yearn for better education for their kids but at the same time vindicates the dismal state of affair of government schools particularly at elementary level. Modern day education is driven by information technology and if we talk about the millennial generation it hardly exists without using technology as this generation is tech savvy. We hardly see any advanced technology used in government schools, be it a computer or internet connection. This demoralizes the school kids in govt schools as they watch their counterparts in private schools reaping the benefits of both. Lack of electricity connections, audio visual mediums in class rooms etc., becomes a source of lesser enrollment in government school hence marring the prospects of these schools.

Greater Kashmir