Community gives lukewarm response
The Jammu and Kashmir government’s move to establish schools in three Pandit colonies in Kashmir has received a lukewarm response from the community thus making the efforts a futile exercise.
In the first phase, one school each is to be established in Sheikhpora Budgam, Hal Pulwama and Veesu Kulgam. Thousands of migrant Pandits who have been provided government jobs in Kashmir under a special package have been given free houses in these colonies.
“The government is very keen to make these schools functional as early as possible in order to provide schooling facilities to the kids of Pandits,” officials in school education department said, adding that the commitment was made by Chief Minister during his tour to these colonies.
“Government is taking fortnightly revision of this process,” officials said, adding that the government is taking stock of each development made in this regard which includes identification of land, construction work and other requisite formalities.
However, the migrants, according to officials, have shown a lukewarm response for establishing these schools in their colonies. “The department had deputed a monitoring team to the migrant colonies to get feasibility report but the migrants have showed lack of interest. They don’t want separate schools for their kids,” officials in the directorate of school education said.
Officials said the schools won’t be able to increase the enrollment of the students given the population of the migrant colonies and the age group of children. “This will be a futile exercise on part of the government as they are not able to attract the migrant community to admit their wards in these schools,” officials said.
The project cost of each school is Rs 24 lakhs and will be funded by the state government which is otherwise facing financial crunch. “The funds will be provided under special package for these schools.”
The effort to establish these schools in migrant colonies comes at a time when government has already merged hundreds of government schools, established under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) or state plan, across the state given the meager enrollment of students.
“Just to honor the Chief Minister’s commitment, we have to establish these schools in migrant colonies no matter if migrants accept or reject these schools,” officials said, adding that new posts for teaching and non-teaching staff will be created for these schools.
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK), Showkat Ahmad Beigh, however said the Pandits didn’t refuse these schools but they want admission of students of other local communities in these schools as well.
“These schools are being established for migrants but they will be an attraction for local community to get their kids admitted there,” Beigh said.