STATE OF EDUCATION | 15 students needed for Govt school to remain functional

Can’t keep school open for 4 to 5 students: Principal Secretary Education
STATE OF EDUCATION | 15 students needed for Govt school to remain functional
Children sitting inside a school amid pandemic. [Image for representational purpose only]File: Mubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar: The government has made it mandatory for a government school to have a minimum enrollment of 15 students to remain functional as a separate institution.

The move comes after the government found schools operating with disproportionate Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) and having a meager enrollment of students but surplus staff posted at these institutions.

Principal Secretary School Education Department Bishwajit Kumar Singh said that a school should have at least 15 students enrolled to remain functional as a separate institution.

“We can’t keep schools functional which have an enrollment of around four to five students,” Singh told Greater Kashmir.

He said that the department was mulling to rationalise around 2000 schools across Jammu and Kashmir to streamline the disproportionate Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR).

“We are planning to go for rationalisation of around 1000 schools each in Kashmir and Jammu divisions. The move is aimed at bringing more stability in the schools and providing better education to the students,” Singh said.

Notably, this would be the second exhaustive exercise to be initiated by the government after around six years to streamline the PTR and overall functioning of the schools.

In 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led coalition government merged around 2400 government schools for having meager or no students enrolled.

“It is obvious that a teacher can’t remain interested in a class which has only four to five students enrolled. There should be at least 15 students for a teacher,” Singh said.

He said that the rationalisation process would be executed using Geo-mapping of schools that would give an exact idea of the distance between the two schools.

“If there are 10 students in one school and five in another school located adjacent to one another, we will join these schools to have more students in one campus and provide a minimum of three teachers to the students,” he said.

Singh said that after rationalisation, the department would provide funds to the students as a convenience through Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) if they have to travel to their school beyond 1 km.

He said the main purpose of rationalisation of schools was to make these institutions properly functional and have good facilities for the students.

Singh said that the process of rationalisation would be formally executed in February 2022 after getting it approved by the government.

“Unless we do not give proper education to students there is no purpose of opening a school. So to make things better in schools a little bit of rationalisation is needed,” he said.

About the utilisation of surplus staff which would be left after the rationalisation of schools, Singh said the government had also prepared a blueprint for it wherein the upgradation of posts would be done to utilise the manpower appropriately.

“There will be so many teachers with PGs or PhDs. We will upgrade their posts after rationalisation. We have also decided to do rationalisation of lecturers and keep one lecturer for 80 students,” he said.

Singh said it was not humanly possible for a lecturer to take a class of 200 students.

“The rationalisation will be part of a series of measures to bring reforms in the education sector. We will not keep rationalisation confined to only merging students,” he said.

Singh said that the focus would be given to Government High and Higher Secondary Schools to have adequate staff for the students.

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