Jeopardy: DSEK fails to conduct safety audit of school buildings in Kashmir
Despite announcement, proposal was shelved for unknown reasons
Srinagar: Despite the passage of more than a year after its announcement, the school education department has shelved the process for holding safety audit of the school buildings in the Valley.
In June last year, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) had ordered for safety audit of the school buildings but the initiative was later shelved for unknown reasons.
A circular was issued by the DSEK wherein the department had instructed all the Chief Education Officers (CEO), Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs), Principals of Higher Secondary Schools and Headmasters of high schools to get the safety audit of school buildings done within 45 days.
“But a year has passed since then, no audit report was submitted by any CEO, ZEO or heads of the schools. The department hushed up the initiative for unknown reasons,” a top official in education department said.
He said the safety audit was supposed to be done by the department in consultation with the concerned Deputy Commissioners.
“A huge number of schools in the state are housed mostly in government owned buildings. However, the school safety audit of these schools has not been conducted so far. The safety of the students is paramount and proceeds to every other thing,” reads the circular which was issued in June last year.
Keeping in view the safety of school children the CEOs, Principals, Headmasters and ZEOs were asked to get the school safety audit done in a time bound manner.
“Ironically no attention was paid to the grave issue at ground level due to which the safety audit was never conducted,” the official said.
The decision to conduct safety audit of the school buildings was taken at a time when most of the school buildings are in shabby conditions and are without any safety measures, thus putting the lives of students at risk.
Already, the former education minister Syed Altaf Bukhari in last budget session had informed the House that out of total 23700 government schools most of the state-run schools are in a pathetic state and almost 50 percent of all government school buildings were in a semi-dilapidated condition.
Meanwhile, the incumbent Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Muhammad Younis Malik feigned ignorance about the issue and said the matter will be looked into.
“I have not gone through any such file but I will take up the matter with the concerned officials in the department. Necessary follow up will be taken,” he assured.