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KU releases social audit report of Mid-Day Meal Scheme

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Academics underscore importance of elementary, secondary education

Srinagar: The University of Kashmir on Monday released the findings of a social audit conducted into the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in select schools of Kashmir division.
Dean Research Prof Shakil A Romshoo released the report of the social audit, carried out by the varsity’s Department of Social Work (DoSW) under a study sponsored by J&K’s School Education Department.
In his presidential address, Prof Romshoo said the social auditing of welfare schemes like the MDM can lead to course correction and help achieve the objectives of such programmes in an optimal manner.
Referring to Japan’s revolutionary school lunch programme, Prof Romshoo said the schemes like MDM, apart from leading to increase in enrollments and decrease in dropout rates, should become a source of great learning for children about the importance of food, food security, nutrition, balanced diet, cultivation and farming etc.
“Education is essentially about learning and understanding rather than merely studying to get degrees,” he said.
Prof Siddiq Wahid, former Vice-Chancellor of IUST Awantipora, who was a guest of honour on the occasion, spoke about the critical importance of elementary and secondary-level education.
“Schooling is a critical phase in a child’s life,” he said, underlining the importance of including teaching of history, culture, economics and philosophy in the curriculum right from the elementary level.
Prof Wahid said the National Education Policy-2020 is not rigid from an education point of view and offers fair autonomy to incorporate elements of creativity and thinking into the school curriculum.
Coordinator DoSW Dr Aadil Bashir said the social audit of MDM Scheme was conducted by his department, in Ganderbal and Budgam districts, in line with the MHRD guidelines and instructions from the School Education Department.
A key finding of the study reveals that the MDM Scheme has increased interest in children to attend government schools while decreasing the dropout rate to a large extent.
“Girl students are more enrolled in schools in both the districts,” the report reads.
The report has also highlighted some issues and challenges vis-à-vis implementation of MDM Scheme in the twin districts.
The report-release function was, among others, attended by ZEOs, CEOs, school principals from Ganderbal and Budgam districts, apart from faculty members, scholars and students from the DoSW.
Dr Javed Rashid conducted proceedings of the function.
Online exam for select govt recruitment: Union Minister
New Delhi: A Common Eligibility Test (CET) will be conducted online across the country from next year to screen and shortlist candidates for recruitment to select central government jobs, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Monday.
He said the test will be a major boon for youths seeking government employment.
“The National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for conducting Common Eligibility Test has been constituted with the approval of the Union Cabinet,” said Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel.
The NRA will be a multi-agency body which will conduct the common test to screen and shortlist candidates for Group-B and C (non-technical) posts, he said.
“The most significant feature of this reform is that every district in the country will have at least one examination centre which would greatly enhance access to the candidates living in far-flung areas,” Singh told PTI.
One of the important objectives of this historic reform is to provide a level-playing field to every candidate so that none of the job aspirants is at disadvantage and has an equal opportunity regardless of his or her background or socio-economic status, he said.
“This will also be a huge benefit to women and divyang candidates as well as those who find it financially unaffordable to appear for multiple tests by travelling to multiple centres,” the minister said.
Singh said the first Common Eligibility Test to be conducted by the NRA is likely to be scheduled around the second half of 2021.
He also pointed out that NRA will be an independent autonomous organisation responsible for shortlisting candidates for certain categories the recruitment for which is carried through Staff Selection Commission (SSC), State Selection Boards (RRBs) and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).
“However, the existing central recruiting agencies like SSC, RRBs and IBPS would continue to conduct specific recruitments as per their requirements and the Common Eligibility Test will only be the test for preliminary screening of candidates for the jobs,” he added. (PTI)


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