Centre asks J&K Government to focus on filling learning gaps among school children

Centre asks J&K Government to focus on filling learning gaps among school children

Srinagar, Feb 26: The Centre has asked the J&K government to focus on filling learning gaps of the school-going children which had become a major challenge owing to the prolonged closure of educational institutions.

The directions were given by Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Government of India (GoI), Anita Karwal while taking a review of the overall functioning of the School Education Department (SED), J&K, during a review meeting convened at Civil Secretariat Jammu.

The Secretary DSEL also took a review of SamagraShiksha, a centrally-sponsored scheme wherein she asked the department to focus on the introduction of vocational courses in schools too.

A top official of the SED privy to the meeting said that the department was asked to prepare a comprehensive plan to overcome the learning gaps among the students.

“Learning gaps in school children was the main point of discussion in the meeting and the Education Department was asked to explain its strategic plans to address the issue,” the official said.

He said the department was asked to focus on learning gaps while framing the annual 2022-2023 plan for grants to be released by the Centre.

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“The Secretary said that the DSEL will provide grants so that J&K’s Education Department can provide material support to the students,” the official said.

The stress was also laid on strengthening schools by establishing ICT laboratories so that the students get access to new technologies.

“The Secretary assured the department of providing all sorts of financial support required in equipping schools with ICT laboratories. The department was told to ensure the introduction of vocational courses in schools for the students,” the official said.

However, he said that the issues about incomplete or delayed constructions of school buildings were not given much importance in the meeting.

“The main thrust area was learning gaps of students and other academic-related issues,” the official said.

The School Education Department has already ordered for merging of around 2000 students across J&K for having meager or zero enrollment of students in these schools.

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“The Secretary assured the department that all the pending grants about civil works and other works will be released on priority,” the official said.

Under National Education Policy (NEP)-2020, the Secretary has also assured the department that all recurring and non-recurring grants would be provided to the department for strengthening of primary and pre-primary sections in government schools.

The government schools have registered around 1.20 lakh new admissions in the kindergarten section in all government schools in the recently-conducted enrollment drive.

During the meeting, the J&K’s School Education Department through a PowerPoint presentation showcased their objective for the current academic year.

The department said that it would assess the learning levels to assess the gap in the achievement of learning outcomes.

“The department will focus on improving the learning levels of students in all grades by adopting innovative pedagogies for enhancing the Learning Outcomes,” the department said.

It has also set a target of mainstreaming Out of School Children (OoSC) during the current year.

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“Rs 45.94 crore was provided to 22,250 schools under school composite grant besides sports grant of Rs 19.97 crore to districts for procurement of sports equipment in the schools to be completed in March 2022,” the department said.

It has also planned to map pre-primary section schools with nearby Anganwadicentres.

“School with pre-primary sections will be provided child-friendly furniture and schools with pre-primary sections will be provided ECCE kits as well,” the department said.

Giving figures, the department said that around 561 ICT laboratories were completed during the year 2021 and a total of 1588 ICT laboratories and 1420 CAL centers were established in the schools since the inception of the scheme which benefited around 1.6 lakh students annually.

“Biometric attendance machines are being installed in all government schools by March 2022 and GIS mapping completed for all the schools and seasonal centres across J&K,” the department in its PowerPoint presentation said.

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