A day after Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat publicly berated government-run schools in Jammu and Kashmir for imparting “disinformation” and “wrong” education, the Centre Monday said it planned to “mainstream” school children and use education “as a tool to bring normalcy” to the state.
Announcing a memorandum of understanding after the first day of the two-day Cabinet Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting in Delhi, the ministry of human resource development(MHRD) said that the Centre and J&K governments have planned out a number of measures for engaging with students starting with exchange of 9000 to 10,000 students of J&K from January 18, 2018 and setting up ICT and digital platforms in the schools of the state.
Briefing the media, Anil Swarup, secretary, school education and literacy, MHRD in the presence of the HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar and Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, minister, school education, J&K, said that Centre is engaging with the state to “mainstream” children and use “education as a tool to bring normalcy.”
“ We have travelled some distance on this,” Javadekar was quoted as saying by The Times of India (ToI).
The department of school education, J&K has entered into a MoU with MHRD for ‘School Education Transformation Roadmap’. The document of Roadmap is a joint study of the Centre and the state government, according to ToI.
“The roadmap will be implemented in three years with goals of major improvement of learning levels of students by 2020. It comprises of comprehensive framework including human resource management to quality interventions. The roadmap has identified high priority areas including restructuring of state teacher education institutes, created integrated data management information system and curriculum revision,” ToI reported.
According to Swarup, the government will identify special districts for intensive engagements with students. Both the governments will also undertake students exchange programmes wherein 9,000 to 10,000 students from J&K will travel to other parts of India and spend some time and vice versa. The initiative will start from January 18, 2018 and the first batch of students from J&K will also get to witness the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi.
“This is not a one-time exercise. The other initiative is to set ICT and digital technology in the schools of J&K. For that we will also use solar energy platform,” added Swarup.
Swarup said that the J&K government has agreed to look at the NCERT curriculum for convergence and more number of schools from the state are seeking CBSE affiliation.
“This exercise is to expose students in J & K to content being taught in rest of the country. We will also hold massive student exchange programmes in which 9-10000 school students from J &k will be sent to other parts of the country on educational trips and school kids from other parts will be sent to the state,” Javadekar said.
More and more schools in the state are also being urged to get affiliated with the CBSE, Atlaf Bhukhari said.
‘Schools in Kashmir teach two maps’
Gen Rawat had Sunday said the education system of the state needed a major revamp, and made a case for opening more “CBSE schools.”
“You will be surprised that in the government schools in Kashmir, teachers are teaching something that should not be taught. You will find two maps, one is a map of India and the other of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. What is the need for that? What does this mean to a child’s mind?” he told media in New Delhi.
“(Among) those picking up guns, there will be one odd Ph.D. scholar. But you don’t see a terrorist coming out of Burn Hall (an elite missionary school in Srinagar). Most come from schools where there is a lot of disinformation and the education being given is wrong,” Rawat said.
Interestingly, Bukhari had condemned Gen Rawat for “meddling in the state’s affairs” and said matters related to education should be left to the state government.
The PDP’s ally BJP, however, defended Gen Rawat, saying he had every right to express his views.
Rawat had also said that “some control has to be exercised ” over Valley madrasas and masjids as they were behind what “is being incorrectly informed to them (youth of Kashmir)”.