Minister of Education, Naeem Akhtar, Thursdaysaid the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has formed the coalition with BJP to establish a transparent system of governance in J&K which lives up to the peoples’ expectations.
“Our (PDP-BJP) alliance is based on a common agenda of evolving transparency in the system of governance. We will make the system accountable so that it delivers even on auto-pilot mode. The alliance is for the good of J&K and its benefits will be reaped by future generations,” Mr Akhtar said.
The Education Minister was interacting with a group of prominent citizens and PDP workers in Sumbal, Sonawari, where he inaugurated an augmented grid station, one of the long pending demands of the residents.
Mr Akhtar said the State had lost the capacity to spend the funds because of the corrupt practices of the previous regimes. Under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Minister said, J&K had received about Rs 9000 crores in the last six years of which only about Rs 3100 crores were spent.
“About 800 school buildings in J&K are incomplete. 120 Model Schools were sanctioned for J&K, 68 hostels were meant to be built for girls and Smart Classrooms were approved for 220 schools across the state, but all these funds were wasted,” he said.
Mr Akhtar said the Education Department has effected groundbreaking changes in the system, which have enhanced its spending capacity, “We are devising strategies so that the students enrolled in our schools can compete with the best across the country,” he said.
The Minister later visited Government Degree College Sumbal and appreciated the staff for their efforts in providing quality education to the students. “No one spoke about the state of Education in J&K before our government came. Debates and criticism is a sign of healthy democracy,” he said.
Mr Akhtar said the college will get permanent faculty in three to four months and a vocational course in interior designing will also be started here. “We are making education purposeful so that the students are armed with skills to earn a livelihood and not disabled certificate holders,” he said.
The Minister also directed the authorities to speed up work on auditorium and new block of the college.
Orders Merger of 4 Schools
Akhtar ordered the merger of four Middle Schools in Tregam area of Bandipora district into a Lower High School.
During his visit to Tregam, Mr Akhtar found that Government Middle School, Kralpora, Government Middle School, Gundi Khalil, Government Middle School, Hamalpora and Government Middle School, Tregam, were being run out of the same campus in Tregam with different nomenclature.
The four schools have 246 students on their rolls with 24 teachers and over half dozen buildings, many of which are lying unfinished and in a dilapidated state. Appalled by the condition of the schools, the Minister ordered that the schools must be merged into one school which will be named as Lower High School, Tregam.
“The state of these schools aptly reflects the manner in which the previous government played with the future of our children for vote bank politics. It is a shame on those who allowed these criminal practices to flourish in the state for political agendas,” Mr Akhtar said.
The Minister later visited Govt Boys Higher Secondary School, Sumbal, Sonawari to attend the Annual Parents’ Day function there. Mr Akhtar was impressed by a skit enacted by the students on neonatal sex determination and female infanticide.
Referring to the game-changer Laadli Beti scheme started by the J&K government for girl child born in poor families with less than Rs 75,000 annual income, Mr Akhtar regretted the discrimination meted out to the females.
“Females can perform better if they are treated in the same way as males. Unfortunately, our society treats girls as a burden who are meant to do household chores, take care of their families and husbands and for whom a dowry should be raised before their marriage,” he said.
“Despite the unfavorable conditions, every year girls figure prominently in the list of toppers in board and professional exams. I dare say that the society should change its attitude and girls should be asking for dowry from their grooms instead of vice versa,” he added.
The Minister said good education, skills and intelligence is a student’s passport to job market. He also announced to set up a computer and language lab at the school and assured the management that the infrastructural problems will be taken care of. Mr Akhtar also ordered the merger of Middle School Sumbal with the Higher Secondary.
The Minister was accompanied by Director, School Education, Shah Faesal, DDC Bandipora, SP Bandipora, CEO Bandipora and other officers of civil and police administration.