‘Sister schools’ to bring Kashmiri students into ‘mainstream’

The Government of India (GoI) plans to bring Kashmiri students into the “mainstream”  through a school linkage and student exchange programme from next year, a media report says.

According to a report by News18.com, the first batch of 150 students from Jammu and Kashmir will travel early next year to schools in Delhi and other parts of India that have been identified as their “sister schools.”

“This student exchange programme or school linkage plan is part of the road map of education designed by the ministry of human resource development in coordination with the J&K government. It was planned by the National Steering Committee, which first met on November 8,” the report says.

Anil Swarup, secretary, school education, said it was part of an effort to “bring students into the mainstream.”

“There were instances of stone pelting in Kashmir recently in which we saw some children pelting stones. The only way to handle this situation is through education. To bridge the gap between the people of Kashmir and the rest of India, we will see strong school linkages program. This will help in bringing children together and myth-busting.”

For every selected government school in Kashmir, there will be a sister school in other parts of India  that will be connected digitally. “These students will get to meet physically at the exchange programs that takes place for the first time in 2018, January.” Games, quiz and other extra-curricular activities have also been planned.

The draft report prepared by the panel also emphasized on emotional connect as much as educational. So, the J&K government is also considering sending “emotional counselors” with the students. In all, around 2,000 students from 100 schools will be a part of the programme.

Funding for this exchange program for students of class IX and X will be from Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan. The proposal for this program has been made by the state and the management will be done at school level. This program will be facilitated by NGOs. The Central Board for Secondary Education has also been roped in and will share the protocol for student exchange.

In a special report, the Centre has also identified 10 high-priority areas. The report sets goals on revival of 285 priority schools, establishment of new Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and Kendriya Vidyalayas and building of digital infrastructure. Career counselling for students in Srinagar with the help of NGOs has also been planned.

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