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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Centre plans major outreach for students, teachers in insurgency-hit Kashmir

The human resources development ministry is drafting an education road map to revamp education in the insurgency-hit Kashmir.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2017 17:30 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A government school in Gori Pora in Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir, was burnt down in October 2016.
A government school in Gori Pora in Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir, was burnt down in October 2016.(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)

Kashmiri school kids may get to read the same material that their compatriots are studying. There could be exchange programmes and video conferences too for students, health cards for teachers, and funds to rebuild razed schools.

These are among the measures the Centre had drafted along with the state government in a comprehensive strategy to bring education back on track in insurgency-hit Kashmir, where many schools were burned in the unrest since the summer of 2016.

Hindustan Times highlighted on October 3 the plight of these schools and students.

Sources said the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government drafted an education roadmap and a timeline has been proposed for the interventions starting this November. The plan includes CBSE affiliation to state schools and “adopting” NCERT textbooks for students.

To promote cultural integration, students of Class 9 and 11 of Kashmir schools are likely to be sent on exchange programmes with “sister schools” across the country. There will be video conferencing to promote knowledge and idea exchanges, and a “one-to-one buddy” programme.

Health insurance smart cards for schoolteachers and financial assistance to 36 schools razed by arsonists are the other highlights of the plan.

According to a senior ministry official, some of the high-priority districts identified by the state government are Anantnag, Budgam, Baramulla, Shopian and Pulwama.

“One of the key interventions required is to increase avenues for connectivity with other parts of the country. Increased interaction with peer groups will lead to richer exchange of ideas, experience of cultural integration and mutual respect,” the official said.

Jammu and Kashmir education minister Altaf Bukhari said that state schools were already on the NCERT pattern but acknowledged the Centre’s efforts. He said the state was planning to promote CBSE syllabi as competitive exams like NEET were based on CBSE. “Student exchange programmes were actually state’s own brain child adopted by Centre,” he said.

The ministry would identify suitable and interested schools outside Jammu and Kashmir to become “sister” schools for the exchange programme and video interactions.

By February 2018, a feasibility study for adopting NCERT books and CBSE affiliation would be conducted. It was suggested that NCERT textbooks can be introduced in phases from Class 1.

“The NCERT textbooks are well-written and researched in terms of content. Also, the textbooks can go a long way in improving the quality of classroom transaction in the state. CBSE will conduct an extensive outreach effort for greater penetration in the state,” the official said.

The ministry also suggested providing emotional and career counselling to students, especially dropouts and those affected by the state’s long conflict.

“Repeated disturbances impact students’ productivity … and put immense psychological pressure on them, which reflects in the form of increased insecurity about their academic pursuits and career prospects,” the senior official said.

Around Rs 61.27 crore is earmarked for these interventions. The Union cabinet’s approval will be sought for the health cards for teachers and for building new Kendriya Vidyalayas.

First Published: Oct 19, 2017 10:10 IST

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