Primary education in JK: Concerns & Solutions

Since economic and cultural growth of any society or community hinges upon the quality of its human resources, the focus has to be on quality education in government run schools  . However the quality education in government run schools has become an issue of grave concern for both the educationists and as well as the people . If the figures made public by UNESCO in recent years are to be believed India has the lowest public expenditure on education per student in the world and consequently the situation in Jammu & Kashmir is no more different from rest of the states of the country. Unfortunately a rural-urban divide in education, in terms of facilities and quality is the issue left unattended by the both the previous popular government and as well as the incumbent government in Jammu & Kashmir . Schools in backward rural areas are the most neglected, and the standard of teaching is deplorable. By and large, the government schools have a poor record of performance. Unfortunately infrastructure in government schools is not upgraded the way it should have been. Poorly maintained buildings, dilapidated classrooms, ill-equipped libraries and laboratories, lack of sanitation facilities and even drinking water are issues that the students grapple with everyday. Availability of qualified teachers and the student-teacher ratio is another tale to tell. Improvement is though noticeable in the curriculum and teaching methodologies but emphasis is being laid on developing reading and writing skills but not holistic education. These factors, coupled with other social circumstances have lead to alarmingly high dropout rates in the Jammu & Kashmir. Most schools are miles away and largely inaccessible to the students. While noting that adequate number of elementary schools are to be found at a “reasonable distance from habitations”, the government can’t refute the reports that this is not the case with regard to secondary schools and colleges in Jammu & Kashmir. It has been noticed in several independent education survey reports that two-thirds of those eligible for secondary and senior secondary education remain outside the school system today.

Providing free education to children is a policy which private schools are in disagreement with. A system in which the schools are owned by the government but managed and operated by the private sector is a workable alternative.

These high rates of school dropouts as a result, lead to the ineffectiveness of the reservation policy in institutes of higher education. Complete privatisation of education is certainly not the answer. Providing free education to children is a policy which private schools are in disagreement with. A system in which the schools are owned by the government but managed and operated by the private sector is a workable alternative. The government could bear the costs of running the institution, with suitable incentives to the private players willing to invest in such a venture (possibly in the form of tax benefits to the private organisation). While the management and operation of the school would be in the hands of the private organization, this would ensure an exponential increase in the quality of education that is accessible to the masses, but it may drive up the government’s expenditure on education. However, a public-private partnership in education is best suited for the people in Jammu & Kashmir where focus has to be on crusade against corruption, institutional and administration efficiency and above all proper utilization of allotted funds.

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