Srinagar: In Kashmir, the officials expect the fresh enrollments in schools to cross 1 lakh mark this year with the hundreds of new kindergartens of the School Education Department being prepared to give an early start to the education here.
Director School Education Kashmir, Tasadduq Hussain Mir said that in the past two years, the School Education Department had started over 2000 kindergartens.
He said that the kindergartens had been prepared in 2019 but due to various reasons, the pandemic being the primary one, could not take off well.
However, Mir said that the new facility in J&K had already helped attract parents to enroll their children into the education system.
“In 2020, we saw about 1.02 lakh new enrollments, higher than the previous years,” he said. “Although the schools were not open, the early education interventions are already making a difference.”
Mir said that the establishment of kindergartens would be crucial in the coming years and was intended to help the children enrolled in government schools to have a similar kind of early childhood care and pre-primary education initiation as their counterparts in private schools.
“In December, we will start registering young children in kindergartens,” he said.
The department said that it had carried out door-to-door counseling and awareness programmes and was in the process of increasing penetration in the areas where enrollment was low.
“The premise is early learning and childhood care. There is no concept of a crèche in most rural areas and these centers will help us bridge that gap,” the Director said.
He said that the admission of children eligible to get enrolled in the kindergartens was underway and a survey was conducted to determine the numbers and smoothen access.
The department officials said that they had not been able to calculate the dropout rate of 2021 as no physical classes had been carried out yet due to the restrictions brought in by the pandemic. “Whosoever was enrolled in 2020 is still enrolled technically,” Mir said.
As per the official figures of the J&K government, discussed recently in an official meeting convened by Secretary Education and Literacy, the enrolment has decreased by 0.2 lakh at the primary level and 0.1 lakh at upper primary level which resulted in a decrease of 0.34 lakh enrolment at the elementary level.