Education Deptt collecting details of abandoned school buildings afresh

Likely to be handed over to district administration
Education Deptt collecting details of abandoned school buildings afresh
Representational Pix from Pixabay

Srinagar, June 21: The School Education Department (SED) has once again started an exercise to collect the details of school buildings left abandoned post rationalisation of government schools some six years ago.

An official said that the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has instructed the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to submit the details of the buildings left abandoned after the previous government merged the schools for having meager or zero enrollment of students.

A total of 800 buildings were left vacant with no watch and ward from the Education department after the then education minister in 2015 merged around 2400 government schools that had meager enrolment.

The initiative was taken after 124 government schools in J&K were found without any student enrolment.

After the rationalisation process, these buildings had become ghost houses, many of which were later turned by miscreants into hubs of illegal activities.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Director School Education Kashmir, TasaduqHussain Mir said, “I am collecting the details of the spare school buildings which are left unattended after rationalisation of schools.”

He said that the department was mulling to handover these school buildings to the concerned district administrations which would distribute these buildings to different government departments for utilisation according to their requirements.

“Once the buildings are handed over to the district administration, it will be their discretion to give these buildings to the department for use depending upon the need of the department,” he said.

Notably, the divisional administration in 2019 directed the SED to reconcile the data about the abandoned school buildings and make autilisation plan under which these buildings could be handed over to the other departments.

Most of these buildings were likely to be utilised for accommodation of ICDS centres and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) functioning from rented spaces.

All the CEOs had submitted the details of the abandoned school buildings to the divisional administration but two years later, all these buildings were still lying unattended with no watch and ward from the school education department.

Besides these spare buildings, there are over 1000 under-construction school buildings in J&K which were approved as a strengthening component to provide additional space for schools.

The construction work on these buildings was halted midway due to cost escalation and other reasons, leaving the buildings abandoned, an official said.

School buildings which were spared post rationalisation are still shown as separate school buildings as per the UDISE data.

“The department has only merged the students but the buildings still exist as separate schools on papers. This is the reason why every initiative of the Education department to handover these structures to other departments fails as the Education department is not in a position to leave the administrative control of these buildings,” a top official said.

Meanwhile, the Director School Education Kashmir, TasaduqHussain Mir said once the list of spare school buildings is compiled, the matter would be referred to the administrative department to take a final call on it.

“The government will give approval to transfer these school buildings to the respective district administrations and these structures will be put to use instead of remaining unattended. The government can issue transfer orders of these buildings to the concerned DCs,” he said.

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