Reforming Education System in J&K

Ashok Sharma

There is no doubt that education is a powerful instrument of  social change and it is imperative that the system of education should be such as ensures the holistic development of a child and prepares him/her to develop skills which help them to face the challenges of life and grow into a law abiding and responsible citizen.The system of education must also cater to the needs of the society and develop values such as honesty, respect for elders, empathy, quest for knowledge etc.and thus, ensure the all round development of students.To achieve the desired goals and objectives of education, it is imperative that  the teachers are well trained, highly motivated and focussed on their job and they are provided opportunities and conducive atmosphere to enable them to  give their hundred percent to their job.Education is  a focussed activity and the primary job of a teacher is to carry out the teaching learning process in the classroom or laboratory to the best satisfaction of his students.But unfortunately, this vital aspect is ignored and teachers are deputed for  non academic duties such as preparation updation  of electoral rolls,conduct of elections, preparation of aadhar cards, updation of voter lists etc.which are not even remotely related to education.Even at schools, teachers have to run Mid Day Meal scheme, sometimes supervise the construction works such as kitchen sheds, rooms, toilets etc.which consume a lot of their precious time.The result is that they are left with very little time to perform their primary job of teaching and the study of the valuable human resource-students is adversely affected as they fail to receive as much attention as they are required to.All this jeopardises the system of education. The Education Minister of our State, while   taking cognizance of this fact,announced a slew of initiatives to minimise disruption of academic activities and relief to the teaching community, for bringing more reforms in the School Education Department. As the Education Minister has categorically said that the teachers will not be deputed for duties other than their prime duty of teaching, it is expected that this step will bring back on the  rails the derailed system and students will be benefitted a lot.The Minister convened high level meetings at Jammu a few months ago to take district wise review of the functioning and performance of Education Department of Jammu Division.He laid stress on modernization of Education by introducing e learning, providing IT facilities, conducting refresher courses for teachers, creation of Knowledge Bank,handing over the  MDM scheme to the NGOs etc.
More such steps are needed to revitalise the system of education.It has been made mandatory for the teachers and other staff selected on the basis of RBA/ALC Category  to serve in the RBA/ALC areas for a minimum of seven years as per the Reservation Act.But unfortunately, many such employees selected on the basis of RBA category are posted in urban and semiurban areas in violation to the Reservation Act thus,depriving the students  studying in the  schools falling in notified backward areas of their right to quality education.Moreover, teachers and other employees serving in remote and farflung areas should be given incentives in the form of  enhancement of salaries/honorarium to overcome shortage of teaching staff in the schools of such areas.
Transfer Melas were organised by the School Education Department  one or two yrs ago to rationalise the system of transfers but these melas  proved to be just an eyewash. Teachers having stay of more than seven/ eight years serving in farflung areas were left out while some having a stay  a few months were transferred. Similarly, those serving in cities for as long as seven to eight years were not transferred due to the reasons best known to the concerned authorities. The same ‘pick and choose’policy was adopted in the transfers ordered this year.Sometimes  lecturers are  also transferred  against the post of other subjects, thus affecting the future of the hapless students.In some cases, lecturers of some subjects have been serving in schools for years  where there are no students of that subject.It is sheer wastage of resorces.In other words, they are being paid their salaries for doing nothing.Such lecturers need to be transferred to schools where there are students of that subject.For proper functioning of schools , it is imperative that all transfers are effected strictly according to the Transfer Policy and preferably during summer/winter breaks so that academic activities of the students donot suffer.But unfortunately, this vital aspect is ignored by those at the helm of affairs.The transferring authorities need to be held accountable for effecting transfers in violation to the Transfer Policy.
Rationalisation of teaching staff is another reform which is urgently required in the Education Department.The staff in all the schools need to be rationalised and posted in accordance with the roll and need of the students.Rationalisation of staff should be a yearly process and CEOs should be empowered to make internal adjustments of lecturers/masters in their Districts as per the need of the schoolsAs a result of schemes such as SSA, RMSA etc.many schools have been opened and many others have been upgraded to achieve the cherished objective of bringing all the children to schools.Consequently the roll of students in many schools has come down whereas in some other schools it has increased.But the staff sanctioned years ago remains posted in these schools, which in many cases is disproportionate to the no of students. As such, rationalisation of the staff in accordance with the roll and need of the school is the need of the hour and urgent steps in this regard needs to be taken.
Often, there are reports of the teachers, masters,lecturers etc having been attached in schools and offices in or around cities and towns.Even some ReTs/ RreTs, whose appointment is purely school specific are attached in other schools/offices, hus affecting the teaching learning process  at their originsl place of posting.While a large no of schools in rural and hilly areas are understaffed, there is surplus staff in urban and semiurban schools.Such an exercises amounts to playing with the lives of the students studying in rural and hilly areas.Despite directions from the GAD to detach all such staff time and again, many influential teachers manage their attachments on one or the other pretext.Therefore, deatchment of all teaching and non teaching staff and posting them at their  original place of posting is what is required in order to revitalise the system of education,especially in hilly and far flung areas.
The Govt has developed and upgraded some schools as ‘Model Schools’, where facilities such as ICT labs and Smart classes have been provided.But in many cases the staff in such schools has not been adequately trained to make use of this technology.Moreover, only those Principals and faculty members ought to be posted in such schools, who have shown consistently brilliant academic and professional record.The model lessons prepared by the faculty members of such schools should be taught to the students of other schools throughout ICT labs.

Training of both teaching and non teaching staff is imperative to reorient them to latest methods and techniques of teaching and administration.But  many a time it so happens that trainings of teachers, masters and Heads of institutions are organised throughout the academic session,even at the peak of session, thus adversely affecting the studies of the students.Therefore, it must be made mandatory to conduct  training programmes to the teaching staff during summer/winter breaks only.With unprecedented expansion of education as a result of SSA/RMSA,CEOs/ZEOs have been  overburdened with the official work so much that they have little time to conduct academic inspections of the educational institutions falling under their jurisdiction.As such, there is need to create more posts of CEOs/ZEOs to relieve them of the additional burden and enable them to monitor the schools properly.The old system of conducting detailed inspections and pointing out the shortcomings and suggesting remedial measures in the Inspection Reports need to be revived.The newly promoted Headmasters, ZEOs and Principals must  compulsorily be imparted induction level training to hone up their skills in administrative and financial matters to run the institutions and offices more efficiently.
Teaching is a noble profession and teachers are entrusted with the onerous responsibility of preparing students to be the law abiding and responsible citizens for running the country efficiently. So efforts must be made to attract bright minds to the School Education Department by improving their working conditions and making their job lucrative.The system of education needs  to be restructured to ease the burden of school bags and courses of study must be prescribed in such a manner that students make optimum use of technology and spend more time in libraries and laboratories rather than in classrooms.Infrastructural facilities such as proper buildings, toilet and water facilities, electricitylibrary and laboratiry facilities need to be augumented and strengthened, especially in the Primary schools so that students can  receive education in a proper manner.Annual calender spelling out the academic and cocurricular activites such as debates, games, symposia etc be prepared and  published at the outset of the session and implemented in letter and spirit.Education sector is a vital sector dealing with the human resource of our country and urgent steps need to be taken to revitalise this important sector it is the students of today who will have to shoulder the onerous  responsibility of running the country in the times to come. Source:

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