Only 22% schools in J&K have access to functional internet connection

‘GER of females in J&K higher than males in Higher Education sector’
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Representational ImageWikimedia Commons

Srinagar: The School Education Department (SED) in Jammu and Kashmir has miserably failed to equip the educational institutions with the functional internet connections despite the repeated advisory and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education (MoE), Government of India.

As per the latest figures, only 22 percent of the schools in J&K are equipped with functional internet facility

The Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan revealed the figures in the ongoing session of Rajya Sabha while replying to the queries of the Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut.

As per the data, only 5.2 percent government schools were equipped with internet facilities in 2019-20 while the number increased to 5.3 percent in 2020-21 and to 22.3 percent in 2021-2022 academic session.

The Minister of Education said the majority of the schools were under the administrative control of respective state governments and Union Territory administration.

"An advisory has been issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Government of India to all the states and UTs to enter into an MoU with BSNL and provide FTTH internet connection to all the government schools which have computing devices," Pradhan said.

He said that the states and UTs have been advised that the internet charges could be met from available resources in the schools.

"For ICT laboratories and smart classrooms sanctioned under Samagra Shiksha, internet charges can be met from the recurring charges being released under Samagra Shiksha," Pradhan said.

He said that the schools in which ICT or smart classrooms are not sanctioned under Samagra Shiksha and which have computing devices, internet charges could be met from the Management Monitoring Evaluation and Research (MMER) funds being released under Samagra Shiksha or from any other state or UT government funds.

About the schemes available with the government to provide financial assistance for the provision of digital education, the Union Education Minister said ICT and digital initiatives component of centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha covers government and aided schools having classes 6th to 12th.

"Under this component financial assistance is provided for establishing ICT laboratories and smart classrooms in schools. Under Samagra Shiksha for ICT labs, a non-recurring grant of up to Rs 6.40 lakh per school and recurring grant of upto Rs 2.40 lakh per school per annum for a period of 5 years is provided," he said.

The Union Minister said that from 2023-2024, the scheme also offers step-wise funding based on school enrollment.

He said that the schools with a student population of 100 get Rs 2.5 lakh while the schools with student strength between 100 to 250 are entitled for Rs 4.5 lakh.

"The schools which have student strength between 250-700 get Rs 6.4 lakhs. For smart classrooms, non-recurring grant for smart classrooms, two smart classrooms per school is of Rs 2.40 lakh and the recurring grant is Rs 38,000 including e-content and digital resources, and charges for electricity," Pradhan said.

In a separate query, the Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani said that as per the All-India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of females in higher education sector in the country including J&K was higher than that for males.

The union minister was replying to a query raised by the Member Parliament Amee Yajnik regarding the details of enrollment rate of girls in Higher Educational Institutes (HEIs) since 2020.

She said that the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in HEI of J&K was 25 percent - 23 percent males and 27.2 females.

As per the data, 2033 females in J&K are enrolled for PhD, 180 females for M Phil, 36,342 students for Post Graduation (PG), and 1,47,415 female students are enrolled for different Under Graduate (UG) courses in HIEs of J&K.

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