Govt fails to provide libraries in schools, colleges
Recent survey says that 40 percent high schools do not have a library
Srinagar: The up gradation of the libraries and its culture in schools has always remained a distant dream in government educational institutions. Besides, the reading habit among the students has also failed to improve over the years.
As per norms, the school education department is supposed provide proper library facilities to students at elementary level under provisions of erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme. However, implementation of the initiative has been put at the back burner.
“The department receives annual grants under erstwhile RMSA scheme from Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to equip schools with proper library facilities, but even this scheme hasn’t been implemented seriously,” an official said. He said the library culture is yet to be set in most of the high and higher secondary schools.
The lack of library facilities in the secondary and senior secondary level schools has adversely affected the reading habits of students.
“The focus of the department has primarily remained on academics while as library section hasn’t remained a priority,” the official said.
The move has also disappointed the employees who have been appointed in the schools as librarians.
“Libraries and reading rooms form the backbone of learning in schools and colleges but unfortunately such facilities are missing in JK schools,” said a librarian posted in a higher secondary school, who wished to remain anonymous.
The annual national surveys over the years have also depicted a grim picture of the schools with regard to the availability of the library facilities in the schools. According to latest survey, not more than 40 percent schools have a library facility for the students.
“These schools include also those institutions where the books are stored in a lockers and cupboards,” the official said.
He said the department has given repeated directions to Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to improve the library facilities in schools particularly high and higher secondary schools.
“But the district authorities are lethargic in revamping the library facilities in schools,” he said.
Earlier, the department had claimed that it will partner with department of culture to set up a library in every school but the partnership between the two departments never materialized.
“There are scores of such proposals made by the successive regimes but these proposals remain confined to the papers. Nothing happens on ground,” he said
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Muhammad Younis Malik said the department is giving in more efforts to improve the library culture and enhance the reading habits among the students.
“Libraries are not ignored in schools we are providing money to CEO’s and school heads to purchase books for school libraries,” he said.