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Amid frequent closures, MHRD asks JK to increase working days in schools

Amid the frequent closure of educational institutions in Kashmir, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has asked the J&K’s school education department to increase the number of school days to 200 per year.

The increase in the working days of schools is a component of the road map designed by the MHRD for J&K’s school education department.

On April 12, MHRD secretary education and literacy Anil Swarup convened a review meeting of the road map in Srinagar with the officials of the school education department.

In the meeting, officials said the secretary sought status from the department on government initiatives to increase the number of working days in schools.

“Academic calendar specific to school education department will be notified shortly and it will have increased school days and reduced holidays,” reads a report discussed in the meeting.

According to officials the schools should have at least 180 working days in one academic year. However, the working days of schools in the state, particularly in Kashmir, never goes above 130-140 days. “And from 2016, the schools haven’t conducted over 100 days. In 2016 schools had only 83 working days and in 2017 we also had less number of working days due to the prevailing situation in Kashmir,” the official said.

The schools and colleges remained closed for over four months during 2016 unrest that erupted in Kashmir post killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. Also, the educational institutions remained closed for a prolonged period in 2017 post police action on students of Pulwama Degree College in April.

This year the schools had around 20 working days from March.

“Most of the times the schools remained closed due to government interventions,” the officials said.

During the review meeting, the secretary MHRD asked the state to proactively engage with private schools and send their proposals for CBSE affiliations for “urgent” approvals.

From J&K state the review meeting was attended by secretary school education department, director school education Kashmir, state project directors of RMSA and SSA, principal SIE Kashmir besides other officials of the department.

The officials said the education department was asked to rationalize subject-wise and school-wise teacher posts for elementary and secondary schools and re-deploy surplus teachers from schools.

An online mechanism for rationalization of teachers on school based Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) will be in place by next academic session (2019-20), the department has stated.

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