By: Peer Mohammad Amir Qureshi
Let me start with the quote of Riyadh us-Saleheen “One who treads a path in search of knowledge has his path to Paradise made easy by God.” Education is the basic right of an individual. It is the fundamental right of everyone, no one shall be denied a right to education. According to Islam to acquire knowledge has been made compulsory by Almighty Allah for both men and women. Few days ago when I was reading a book at my home, my ears perceived an unseal sound ”mufut Daakhila ”Mufut Daakhila” ”Free admission” “Free admission”, unusual in the way that it was happening for the first time, otherwise only private schools ran admission campaigns by gluing notices on the walls, electric poles, shutters of shops and even on the notice boards of mosques as well. Now Government school students were chanting slogans holding placards in their hands and were marching on roads and teachers were with them. Then, I grasped that it is an initiative held up by The Department Of School Education (DSEK) it was an enrollment drive or campaign to enroll more students to Government Schools. The Department Of School Education is trying to keep head above water to rejuvenate the admission process by having a campaign and requesting public to enroll their wards to Government schools instead of private schools. If there’s free admission in Government schools what desists parents to admit their wards in Government schools? Why are people paying lakhs as admission fee and monthly fee in private schools if their wards could be admitted in Government schools at free of cost providing them mid day meals and books as well in the elementary classes.
To bridge up this trust gap between people and the Government Teachers Education Department is on their toes but isn’t yielding any results on the ground. Why is it so? Student enrollment is on decline in Government Schools in jammu and kashmir. Despite government’s claims of organizing drives in villages and towns to increase enrolments in schools, the number of students in the government elementary schools in Jammu and Kashmir has decreased by 1.75 lakh in a year. The official figures are shocking and surprising.
According to a Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting chaired by Secretary Education and Literacy in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in June, J&K School Education department has fared poorly on retention rate at primary, upper primary and secondary-level classes. The PAB meeting “Samagra Shiksha” was convened to consider the annual work plan and budget (AWP&B) 202O-21 for Jammu and Kashmir. As per the minutes of the meeting, the total enrollment decline across classes is nearly 1.75 lakh in 2019-20. “The number of out of school children was just 19,000 in 2017-18.”Besides poor enrolments, the retention rate in government schools is also low with only 60% at elementary level and 50% at secondary level. The government schools, particularly up to elementary level, are witnessing downfall in enrolment mainly due to lack of basic facilities in the schools for which the department gets separate grants from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) every year. The MHRD has stated that the annual average dropout rate of Muslim students in Jammu and Kashmir is high at all levels (elementary and secondary). “Annual average dropout rate of Muslim students is 14.30% at primary level, 13.10% at upper primary, 23.70% at secondary level and 26% at higher-secondary level,” the official document reads. There are also government schools across Jammu and Kashmir that have zero student population.
The government of India is allocating thousands of crores of rupees for the improvement of education in the country but everything is going in vain. No one is bothered about decreasing student enrolment in government schools. Apart from few, all other government schools show low or moderate academic achievement in the board exams.. enrollment is on decline in Government Schools in Jammu and Kashmir. What desists Government Teachers to admit their wards in Government schools. Why did they send their own wards to Private schools? Why is a teacher of Government School a parent at Private school? It seems that something Is fishy or they aren’t providing quality education to students. Government is paying hefty salaries to teachers and they aren’t yielding that much academic results like Private schools, where Private school teachers are paid not more than eight thousand rupees. There is much more accountability and credibility in Private schools instead of Government schools. Some of the Private schools are not having even their own buildings if we talk about infrastructure but they are having par excellent results than Government schools. The utmost guarantee of the Government school teachers is to admit their wards to Government schools so that other people would trust them and there would be no trust gap in between them. Government teachers are also involved in teaching practices at coaching centres at mega scale which has been barred by Government but teachers are fall on deaf ears to that circular. They are forcing students to join their respective coaching centres. Why those teachers did not teach with the same dedication at schools if they are having hefty salaries from the Government?
The quality of education in Government schools has gone down drastically even though the best teachers are available. During the covid19 education sector suffers the most some teachers tried their best to save the career of students by providing them coaching at their homes to lessen the loss some of the teachers wrote open letters to the administration to open schools. Government teachers have always been deployed for administration works like election duties, Aadhar card enrolments and covid duties as well which actually they neither are meant nor should b assigned to. Now it’s the condition of Government schools that Government is going to merge schools and there would be an analysis of teacher student ratio. Only destitute students are reading in Government schools because Government schools are imparting poor quality of education. Hope enrolment drive would bring some positive changes and will yield good results on the ground. So that a private teacher would be a parent at Government school.
The author hails from District Ganderbal and Is a DMLT Student. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org