Srinagar: The School Education Department has initiated a process to identify Covid-19 orphans across Kashmir and issued directions to the heads of the institutions in the government and private schools to take measures for continuation of their education.
The move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court directions issued to the states and union territories in July and August this year for the identification of Covid-19 orphans and the measures taken by the government regarding continuation of education of such orphans.
“The schools should ensure that such orphans are permitted to continue in the same schools at least for this academic year, be they private schools or government schools,” the DSEK circular reads.
Referring to the SC directions, the circular said that in case of difficulties in permitting the students to continue their education in private schools, they should be accommodated under the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
The SC in its directions has said that steps should be taken by the concerned state governments for free admission of children who have lost both of their parents, or either of their parents after March 2020 and have dropped out of school.
“The state government should also furnish information on the number of such students studying in private and government schools and the mechanisms implemented to permit them to continue studying in their respective schools,” the SC guidelines read.
Meanwhile, referring to the SC directions, the DSEK in a circular said that directions had been given to the states and union territories to ensure that the benefit of the scheme reaches to the identified children at the earliest.
“The government should also ensure that the education of the children studying in private schools is not disturbed,” the SC guidelines read.
In the wake of this, the directorate has instructed all the heads of the schools – both government and private - to ensure that orphans who lost both of their parents or either parent may be permitted to continue their studies in the same schools at least for the current academic session.
“It is further impressed upon all the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to record the details of children orphaned due to Covid-19 and submit the updated information within two days positively,” the DSEK circular reads.
An official said that all the CEOs had identified the children who were orphaned due to Covid-19 and all such students were continuing their education in their respective government and private schools.
“There were around 30 students in district Budgam with the majority of them enrolled in private schools. After compiling the list of these students, a meeting was convened with the respective heads of private schools who agreed to provide free education to these children,” CEO Budgam, Syed Muhammad Amin told Greater Kashmir. “We met the guardians of these children as well. The private schools have been courteous to agree on providing free education to these children for upcoming years as well.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir, CEO Baramulla Muhammad Nabi Lone said that the list of such students was submitted to the directorate and measures were taken to continue their education in both government and private schools.