Avny Lavasa- Deputy Commissioner, Leh: The education system in Leh district is fairly good as compared to other parts of the state. We have more than 300 schools including both government and private. The private schools are mostly run in the city area whereas in the far-flung villages we have government schools.
The district administration definitely looks at both the Private and government school but as far as private schools are concerned we only regulate and there is not much intervention. The regulation is mostly done on the basis of complaints we get such as fees issues, teaching hours, traffic, location etc. If anyone comes forward and complains about any issues we definitely check because it is not possible to monitor or check on a daily basis to all the schools.
Talking about following of the norms by the educational institution in Leh, it is comparatively good as compared to other parts of the J&K state. There is not so much of violation of rules. Whenever I am on tour to far-flung areas, I make sure to inspect the schools. In far-flung villages, we have the Government schools only and if we compare the facilities and quality it is definitely not up to the mark. Lack of funding is the main issue in the government schools and also one of the challenges is the remoteness because of which many teachers don’t really go when they are posted which creates difficulties in maintaining the teacher-student ratio. There is also a problem of shortage of teaching staffs and subjects. So there are issues which will be solved gradually.
Apart from all the infrastructural development, imparting quality education is the most important thing. There is a need to impart more practical instances rather than bookish knowledge. Along with academics we need to focus on extracurricular activities.
The cooperation of the parents is very important because their concern and timely monitor will ensure all the things which are required for a child. What actually happens is that in a private school the concern of the parent's comes automatically because of the huge amount of fees paid for the child’s education. In the case of government school that needed concern is not given. But yes, the VEC in the villages is also a good step.
The educational institution is not just about teaching and learning there is a responsibility towards child safety and security also. Many times the child doesn't even understand the situation that has happened or happening. Such problems can somehow be solved if we take the importance of sex education. Sex education is still considered as a taboo which needs to be removed and need to focus on imparting it. Parents should be very supportive and open when such an incident happens. The school should also conduct a separate session for parents also at times.
Keeping in view the increasing child-related cases and issues there is a specially designated officer for protection of Child rights and the charge has been given to the Project Officer Child Rights.
Second is the need of the POSCO Act which is to protect children from offences of sexual assault and harassment. For the prevention, creating awareness and providing psychological support to the children who have gone through such experiences, Social Welfare and ICDS department has initiated one-stop centers which will be established soon in the SNM Hospital. The center will cater to all sorts of services such as a medical, psychiatrist, general counseling for women and children who have gone through such cases.
Also, the important thing is to share and come forward with the problems rather than sidelining it because many don’t really come forward because of shy nature, societal issues and so on.
- More emphasis on quality education, the student should be given more exposures and practical knowledge.
- Awareness and knowledge about child right, safety, and sex education need to be imparted to avoid mishappenings with the child life.
- A platform or the avenues need to be created for children to talk about their lives, issues, and problems so that we can get an idea to improve.
- To establish a one-stop center for child and woman who faces various problems in their life.
- People should stand and come forward with issues and complains so that timely action can be taken.
Tashi Dolma, Joint Director, J&K School Education: The scenario of the education system in Leh district has changed a lot and is improving in all the way. At present, we have 44 private schools and 358 Government schools which include 187 primary, 125 middle, 32 high and 14 higher secondary schools. Out of the total government schools, 12 are residential and 1 inclusive school in Chuchot in which students with the disability also studies.
The government of India has 3 flagship programmes:
1. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which aims in universal elementary education.
2. Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan is to enhance access to secondary education and to improve its quality.
3. Mid-day meal scheme to enhance enrolment, retention, and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children.
All these programmes are initiated to strengthen and improve the education system in every corner whereas the private school will be established depending on the economic feasibility. Also, there is a norm to be followed by all the private and government schools and prior to the establishment, there are certain parameters such as building safety certificate, classroom size, infrastructure, qualification of teaching staff, playground, drinking water facility which needs to be ensured.
The education department is the regulating authority of all the schools and we do carry out inspection but mostly on the need basis.
The success of education has always been taken on the basis of result or the pass percentage which has improved a lot in comparison with the past years. In 2013-14, the pass percentage has gone above 70%. Along with the increase of pass percentage the most important part is to impart quality education which is somehow lacking behind. It’s high time we need to look seriously into imparting quality education rather than going for quantity.
Education is not just about learning to read and write rather we need to focus on giving a holistic approach so that a child when grows up knows the difference between good and bad and can serve the society in a better way.
Earlier there were issues of teacher transfer, lack of qualified teachers, absenteeism of teachers and students in far-flung schools which has improved a lot in the present days.
Now, such an issue doesn’t persist anymore and we are moving towards quality. We are trying and putting every effort to strengthen the education system through a holistic approach at the grass root level. We are also reopening the school which has been closed down and trying to build confidence.
Also, one of the drawbacks is that when things are provided free of cost people don’t value and appreciate much. In this winter, with the help of J&K Government, we are initiating a program called ‘Super 50’ in which we will select the best students in the science subject and prepare them for the entrance examination such as NEET and JEE.
We conduct training to all the government teachers on leadership, teaching methodology and many others also, a vocational training course to the students of the higher secondary in IT and Tourism. An exposure tour to outside state is also conducted.
When we talk about residential schools, then we have 12 in total run by the Government which has helped the student to be open, independent, confident and also helped in increasing the enrollment. With the cases of molestation, child abuse in schools and hostels coming into light in our society we need to create awareness about child right, imparting sex education, cooperation of parents frequently and also I feel that a child of small age should be kept along with the parents rather than enrolling in hostels and that too far away from home.
The residential school's function and facilities need to be monitored by each and every one of us frequently because many of us feel that once we enrol the child in a school or a hostel it is the management responsibility only.
With the changing world, there is a need for parents to change their thoughts and aware of the new things happening around to understand the child more and in a better way.
- To strengthen the education system in holistic way cooperation from each and everyone in the society is needed.
- Teachers are the backbone of the education system. They need to be more accountable and dynamic to run the school effectively.
- We should focus more on imparting moral education.
- There is a need for healthy competition between the Private and Government school.