Back to school

Published at January 15, 2018 02:00 AM 0Comment(s)2973views

Back to school

Last month, Secretary School Education Farooq Ahmed Shah in an address mentioned reforms introduced in the department to increase rolls and to improve teaching-learning atmosphere in schools across the state. Education Minister Altaf Bukhari on the access and outreach of education said that the government was committed to upgrade the existing education system by establishing 17 new degree colleges and upgrading about 400 different schools. On Friday the minister informed the Assembly that 96 Government Degree Colleges are functioning in the state with most of them (69) functioning in their own campuses. While the twin revelations have been hailed by many, questions also have been raised on the overall performance of schools run by government. On extending the access and outreach, the government has to do most of the work since there is thin presence of schools in hundreds of villages across the state. The supporting argument is that existence precedes the need to regulate school functioning. It is mistake to have few schools/institutions established in cities and towns in mind and have a generalized view of the existing state of education. There are places in the state where children have to, in literal sense, walk many miles to reach their schools. Every person or subject in the state has an equal right to education, and there ought to be no discrimination based on geographical location. Children in villages have as much a right to quality education as children in urban areas. A slew of reports on condition of schools or compounds, if they may be called so, where children receive education have shocked the people. We often say about the great journey and experience of an educated person that begins from a classroom. And at places where children don’t even have a classroom and are taught in the open for lack of facilities, it does not fit our own narrative on education or standards. There should be no blind spots in our state education map. Nevertheless, the government is also tasked with the monitoring and functioning of established schools. Recently, results of secondary and higher secondary school examinations were declared. There has been no visible improvement that can be called a significant one, either in increasing of rolls or performance in state level examinations. Colleges, although much lesser in number, have proved to be better than schools in terms of education as well as facilities. Once again the government has narrowed down its focus on infrastructure, and as has been argued it is not without merits. But the demerits of ignoring the regulation and functioning of already existing institutions have also left education system paralyzed in the state.               


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