Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday impressed upon the education department to ensure 100% coverage of schools under the drinking water supply (DWS) and sanitation facility, adding that the focus should also be on dovetailing and combining health programmes to ensure complete health cover to the children.
He was speaking while chairing a high-level meeting on Monday to review the progress on Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Mdhymik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
Omar gave nod to the constitution of state education advisory board to give expert advice to the education department on various issues pertaining to the growth and development of education in the state. "The targets fixed under the centrally sponsored flagship programmes should be made time bound and all concerned sensitised," Omar said.
The meeting was informed that during the current financial year, 309 new primary schools would be opened, while 138 primary schools will be upgraded to upper primary level. As many as 10 lakh children, including all girls, besides boys, belonging to weaker sections of society would be provided financial assistance of Rs 400 each for purchase of school uniforms this year.
"An amount of Rs. 40.90 crore has been earmarked for the purpose," Omar said. "In addition, for free supply of text books to the poor students of Classes 3 to 8, Rs 30.90 crore would be spent this year."
Under the RMSA during the last four years, the chief minister was informed that: "As many as 526 middle schools have been upgraded to the level of high schools while 306 schools have been covered under strengthening programme and 281 high and higher secondary schools under drinking water and sanitation."
Besides, as many as 17,072 in-service teachers have been trained while 2330 high and higher secondary schools have been covered under Annual Schools Grant Scheme.
The meeting discussed issues pertaining to third party monitoring of school buildings constructed under the SSA and other schemes as directed by the chief minister. NABCONS has been engaged for this purpose.
The construction of KGBVs, amendment in School Education Act, progress on construction of upgraded high school buildings, construction of model schools, construction of girls' hostels and status of mid-day meals were also discussed in the meeting.
Omar also received brief on the involvement of panchayat raj institutions in the task of monitoring supply of mid-day meals to the students in the government schools. "More than 13,392 primary schools and 9,225 upper primary schools have been covered under the mid-day meal scheme during 2012-13," Omar said.
"The total number of children covered under the scheme stands at 10,50,615. As many as 29,663 cooks and helpers had been engaged under the scheme to provide meals to the students in government schools."
It was stated that the education department has recently made large scale promotions to fill the long-pending vacancies of six joint directors, 27 chief education officers, 82 zonal education officers, 1,807 lecturers, 482 head masters and 6651 masters.
"581 vacancies of lecturers have been referred to Public Service Commission, 7995 vacancies of teachers and 598 ministerial staff have been referred to SSB for fast track recruitment," the meeting informed.