The absence of infrastructure is a serious problem that affects all of the government schools in Jammu and Kashmir, and it requires immediate attention. Although the severe weather conditions of winter exacerbate the problems, these schools are plagued with a precarious position all year long, which has a negative influence on the education of thousands of pupils, particularly those in kindergarten and primary school. In spite of the significant efforts being put into education reform at both the national and UT levels, the success of these programs is contingent on resolving the underlying problem of insufficient infrastructure.
Over the course of many years, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in accordance with the goals of the Government of India, has carried out a large number of changes in the field of education. The flagship National Education Policy 2020 introduced considerable reforms in curriculum and pedagogy with the goal of providing students at the foundational levels with a solid basis on which to build their education. The emphasis placed on digitization, common admission examinations, programs for the education of ladies, and skill development are all indicative of an all-encompassing strategy to improve the education system.
It was a significant change that was implemented, and it affected the curriculum and teaching methods used at various levels, beginning with elementary school. It presented a fresh method of education that had the potential to go a long way toward establishing solid groundwork for youngsters studying at the foundational levels. In addition to this, it provides freedom in selecting courses, in addition to different entrance and exit possibilities.
Additionally, the government has placed an emphasis on the digitization of education, which was notably prompted by the learning loss that preceded the COVID-19 epidemic. According to recent reports, the number of students signing up for online resource portals such as SWAYAM, DIKSHA, SWAYAM PRABHA, Virtual Labs, and others has dramatically grown in recent years.
The government decided to do away with state-based contests and provide a level playing field for all students by introducing common entrance tests at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These tests provide a single platform for students to compete on.
A significant amount of attention has also been paid to educational programs aimed at women in an effort to raise the number of women who attend secondary schools and universities, even as recent reforms have shifted the emphasis to place a greater emphasis on the students’ ability to acquire new skills.
Despite these considerable changes, one of the most important concerns is still the absence of infrastructure in schools. Multiple classrooms have had to be combined into a single space as a result of insufficient facilities, which is particularly problematic in elementary and middle schools. Even brand-new universities sometimes have to make do with inadequate facilities due to a lack of space for labs and other types of equipment. In a study that was released not too long ago, the government emphasized the infrastructure problems that exist in approximately 5000 schools, especially those located in rural and mountainous regions.
In the field of higher education, the government investigation found that 25 different institutions, some of which are brand new while others have been around for a while, do not have their very own physical locations. If we want to be successful in bringing about changes in the education system, this discovery has to serve as a wake-up call for the relevant authorities, and we need to devise a plan to close the infrastructure gaps that exist at the school and college levels.
Because there is a shortage of infrastructure, especially at primary and middle-level schools, the pupils of more than one class are jammed into one dingy room. This is a reflection of the issues encountered by the education department at the ground level.
Not just schools, but even brand-new universities, are functioning out of drab lodgings. The educational institutions are suffering from a lack of both labs and the necessary equipment to run them.
The region’s topography, which is characterized by mountainous terrain and harsh weather conditions, is one of the factors that contributes to the delay of development activities. In regions where there is a lot of snow, the construction of new schools, which is an essential part of improving the educational infrastructure, encounters challenges. In addition to this, the research highlights the fact that 25 institutions, both newly created and already in operation, do not possess adequate structures.
Pupils are negatively impacted in significant ways as a direct result of the lack of infrastructure, particularly during the winter months when kindergarten and primary school pupils are subjected to subfreezing temperatures. The circumstances not only put their wellbeing at risk but also make it difficult for them to acquire new knowledge. When pupils’ most fundamental requirements aren’t addressed, meeting the legal minimum of 220 school days in a session raises some serious problems.
In contrast to certain metropolitan schools, which get consistent attention, rural schools are often the target of state neglect. These schools are struggling with a shortage of infrastructure, which limits their potential for greatness despite the fact that enrollment numbers have been steadily increasing. The emphasis that the government has placed on schools in urban areas needs to be expanded to include schools in rural regions, since the student population in these places offers promise for success if enough attention is given.
The government has set a goal to finish 220 academic days of the session without taking into consideration the ground reality of the schools, which has led to the lack of basic infrastructure in schools, which has generated apprehensions among the stakeholders. Meanwhile, children who attend school continue to shiver in the classrooms.
There is no question that the government’s dedication to education reform is worthy of praise; yet, the success of these programs is contingent on solving the infrastructural gaps that exist in Jammu and Kashmir’s public schools. The horrible reality that students in these institutions are forced to endure calls for quick action.
Given the large number of schools in the valley and winter zones of Jammu, the School Education Department (SED) does not have a provision to offer heating facilities for children while they continue to suffer. This is despite the fact that kids continue to suffer. This issue has been around for a long time, and the scenario remains the same every year.
It has caused apprehensions among the parents and other stakeholders due to the drop in the daily temperature and the absence of infrastructure in schools, but we are not supporting or promoting an early closure of schools or derailment of the academic session.
A dense blanket of fog has been engulfing numerous areas of Kashmir for the last few days, and temperatures below zero have been reported in a number of locations throughout the region, including Anantnag, Pulwama, and Shopian.
The towns of Budgam and Bandipora Consequently, bearing in mind the current state of affairs, the SED needs to initiate discussions about the possibility of declaring winter breaks for pre-primary and primary school students at the very least.
While it is essential for the authorities to ensure that the current academic year is brought to a successful close, it is also essential that they improve the facilities available to students so that they may accomplish their academic objectives.
In order to create an atmosphere that is favorable to learning, the government needs to give high priority to the construction of school buildings, supply the required equipment, and remove geographical obstacles. Only through its efforts will we be able to meet our goal of completing 220 school days. The area would not be able to see the beneficial results of the educational changes that have been adopted by the government until these infrastructure gaps are filled. It should go without saying that the implementation of new reforms must be accompanied by the development of sufficient infrastructure.
For educational changes to be successful at the grassroots level, the two components must work hand in hand.