More about school enrollments

A new report by DSEK paints a rosy picture of government school enrollments in Kashmir. But if all is well, why are authorities training guns on ReT teachers?
More about school enrollments
The directions were given by the Principal Secretary SED Bishwajit Kumar Singh in a meeting convened in Civil Secretariat Jammu regarding the merger of government Primary Schools with “very poor” enrollment.Special arrangement

The Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has come up with a latest report wherein it has depicted a rosy picture of the fresh enrollment of students in the government-run schools across the Valley.

The report has been compiled during the last week of April month and has highlighted the "increasing trend" in the enrollment of government schools from Kindergarten to higher secondary level.

The main highlights of the report mention that there has been about 19.02 percent increase in the enrollment in government schools with new enrollment of around 118177 students including Male- 60199 and females-57977 respectively.

The report depicting rosy picture of enrollment in government schools has come weeks after the J&K School Education Department (SED) asked the Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers to ensure enrollment of 10 students in stand-alone Government Primary Schools and enhance the number through door to door campaigns.

The directions were given by the Principal Secretary SED Bishwajit Kumar Singh in a meeting convened in Civil Secretariat Jammu regarding the merger of government Primary Schools with “very poor” enrollment.

The department said the very objective of creation of ReT cadre was to ensure the universal access of students for which the teachers of such schools were asked to ensure the enrollment of 10 students failing which disciplinary action will be taken against the non performing teachers.

Not only this, in the recent past the government acknowledged that decline in the student enrollment in government schools was a persistent problem throwing a major challenge for the government to sustain its campaign of enrollment drives and retain the student population in government schools.

The SED also initiated the process to identify the persons and declare them responsible for “bringing disrepute to the department” on account of “devastating decline” in student enrollment in government schools resulting in merger of all such institutions.

But few weeks later, the DSEK has now come up with the report, which appears more of a ‘damage control drive’ showcasing increase in the student enrollment.

As per the report, the department has also enrolled around 1143 school dropouts in schools afresh besides enrolling 965 Children With Special Needs (CWSN) and 28295 students have switched from private schools to government schools.

The figures reveal that the Kulgam district has shown highest percent increase in the enrollment while Kupwara district has recorded highest number of new admissions.

The DSEK report mentions that Srinagar district enrolled highest number of school dropouts besides registering highest enrollment of students who switched to government schools from private schools.

As per the figures, the DSEK says that the enrollment has increased to 7.39 lacs from 6.21 lacs with the new enrollment of 1.18 lac students

Going by the DSEK report, it seems that the department has used the recently held enrollment drive as a ‘Damage Control Drive’ because the report contradicts the recent orders and decisions taken by the administrative department regarding poor enrollment in government schools and diktats to a particular teaching community as well.

One wonders that why the government is putting blame on ReT teachers for dwindling trend of student enrollment if it is increasing in schools?

Going by the highlights of the DSEK report, it seems that the government is itself confused over the enrollment issue. Either the enrollment drive has failed or the government is deliberately targeting a particular teaching community.

If the private schools kids are rolling over to government schools then why is government putting blame on ReT teachers for not doing their job. This misunderstanding or miscalculation about the enrollment drive needs to be clarified by the government.

Also, the government should come clear whether the enrollment drive was a successful initiative or it was merely an eyewash.

For the past two years, the government claimed that the enrollment in government schools increased by one lakh students each year. But months after taking credit for enhancing the student enrollment, the J&K Chief Secretary pulled up the School Education Department (SED) for the decline in the retention of the students in government schools at different levels.

But now the DSEK is presenting rosy picture of schools by highlighting the increased enrollment in government schools. Over the past few months, it has been observed that the department is targeting a particular teaching community-ReT teachers for bringing down enrollment in schools. But on the other hand, the department is utilsing the services of all these ReT teachers in schools from primary to higher secondary level.

Recently, the department shifted majority of ReT teachers from primary and middle schools and deputed them in high and higher secondary schools to overcome the dearth of subject specific teachers for higher classes.

The move has resulted in crises at primary and middle school level wherein the students are deprived of adequate teaching at maximum places. Obviously when the students are not provided required number of teachers, they will opt for other schools, mostly in private sector. But we cannot put the blame on ReT teachers for it.

The government has to take up the responsibility for providing adequate teaching staff to students from primary to higher secondary level. Now coming to the point, the fresh data compiled by the Directorate of School Education contradicts the government stand on the enrollment in government schools.

Not only this, the government has also ordered the merger of around 700 government schools across J&K for having zero or meager enrollment of students. Such moves came with a surprise that where students go after being enrolled in the government schools during the last two years.

Besides, the debate has started over what facilities these students, particularly those enrolled in kindergarten, were provided by the government in these two years.

The DSEK report must be carefully studied by the School Education Department so that there is no confusion about the status of enrollments. If enrollments are increasing, then the government must withdraw earlier orders blaming ReT teachers for such a decline.

If it is declining, then the government must withdraw the DSEK report as factually incorrect.

Related Stories

No stories found.