Let this be the beginning
It is after a pretty long time that some positive news has come from the administration vis-à-vis the education sector. The development has come to the fore in the form of the government’s decision to transform around 180 government schools with owned buildings in Srinagar district on modern lines equipping them with smart facilities and modern infrastructure.
Under the project a total of 180 schools including 120 in urban areas and 60 in rural areas of the district are being upgraded in terms of facilities. These schools will be equipped with modern facilities through interventions at infrastructural and operational levels.
The project follows successful completion of the pilot project of modernising 25 selected government schools taken up and completed during the last fiscal. The government plans to spend an amount of 6 crore rupees for upgrading these 120 schools located in urban areas of the district under special plan.
These schools are being upgraded to smart schools under the J&K government’s Back to Village programme.
We all are aware that the condition of government run schools in most of the districts including Srinagar is abysmally pathetic and all the previous measures that were announced under various state and central schemes have failed to uplift the required infrastructure and quality of education provided in these schools.
The latest announcement now that has come at a time when the schools are shut because of the covid-19 pandemic and this should encourage the administration to carry out the required works be it civil or otherwise, so that the institutions that have been shortlisted witness the required change and upgrade.
But at the same time the other issues that confront the education sector is primarily the quality of education and the professional competence of teachers that needs to be taken into account before embarking on a mission to change the ground realities.
It is not only the infrastructure that needs an upgrade but the improvement of learning outcomes through a range of interventions including capacity building among teachers needs to be a priority.
Besides a host of interventions are necessary to enhance the learning outcomes of schools in the capital district. The government run schools have been lacking on various fronys and this includes refurbishing of buildings, upgrading of furniture and equipment, round-the-clock power and water supplies, establishment of libraries, science laboratories, IT labs and smart classes, HR Management and development of teachers, concurrent evaluation and society involvement, separate toilets, sporting infrastructure and games, skills labs, pure drinking water availability, innovation grant for development of models, capacity building and training of teachers.
These are a whole lot of issues that need to be taken up so that the exercise can prove fruitful and bear some results.