Through various initiatives, the School Education Department is on toes for the last couple of years to bridge the trust gap between the parents of students and the teachers at government schools. One of these initiatives which the DSEK (Director School Education Kashmir) has taken is The Enrollment Drive, a campaign run by the School Education Department to enroll more children in government schools in order to ensure universal enrollment and retention of children in government schools. The campaign has shown good results and attracted the attention and interest of parents towards government schools.
This is not for the first time that the School Education Separtment is rejuvenating the work culture in government schools through a different modus operandi, but in the recent years government school teachers have worked like Covid warriors to carry out the teaching-learning process all through the Covid pandemic.
Despite the complete closure of educational institutions in the backdrop of Covid pandemic for almost two consecutive academic sessions in Jammu and Kashmir, the teachers have tried to the best of their abilities to compensate the academic losses of the students by every possible ways and means. Starting from online mode of education with the help of different online apps and electronic gadgets, through assignment distribution among the students to delivery of community classes while following the Covid Appropriate Behaviour, teachers have left no stone unturned to provide education to the children through tough times. In this way teachers played a remarkable role to save the sinking boat of education during Covid period. However, the need of bringing good efforts to fruition is yet not over for teachers; this spirit is needed to be kept high in future, too, to achieve good results and the set targets. A lot is also needed to be done to overcome the trust deficit in government schools.
Some people have still doubts about the competence of government school teachers, but the shadow of doubts needs to be cleared by acquainting them with the facts that highly qualified, dedicated and trained teachers with long experience of teaching are posted in government schools. But the need is to utilise their services in a proper way, which is the right of every parent. Without the cooperation of a parent, the teacher’s efforts are incomplete.
School Education Department is trying its level best and continuously utilising all its energy to bring the standard of education up in government schools and to motivate the commons to un-follow the age-old trend of private schooling, by making the department at ground level result-oriented and most accountable.
Necessary measures are being taken by the department to reach out to children and to bring them to school. The Enrollment Drive as an initiative is in full swing in all the districts falling under the jurisdiction of DSEK. In this regard cultural functions at schools are being held, door to door surveys are being carried out, and rallies are being taken out in rural as well as urban areas to make people aware about the importance of education, and to track the out-of-school children, particularly in the jurisdictions of elementary schools. The need to go for massive enrolment campaign, according to officials, was to raise the enrollment back in government schools which had earlier shown a slight dip.
The underprivileged sections of the society have remained the main focus in order to achieve the universal enrollment of children in schools. Disadvantaged and underprivileged children have been mostly seen subjected to child labour by their parents, the reasons being either lack of awareness about the importance of education or financial constraints of their parents to run their families.
Director School Education Kashmir Dr Tassaduq Hussain Itoo on November 11 himself kickstarted the Enrollment Drive from district Kupwara, with directions to all subordinates that all stakeholders of education department particularly the head of the institutions (HOIs) and the teachers need to get sensitised to ensure the Enrollment Drive in every nook and corner of their catchment areas. All officers of the Education department including Chief Education Officers, Principal DIETs, HODs of DIETs, Deputy CEOs, DEPOs, DIET faculty, Zonal Education Officers, and Zonal Education Planning Officers should visit at least one or more habitations as a part of the door-to-door campaign to inspire field functionaries.
Just within a few weeks, this exercise of enrollment has shown appreciable results so far. The official figures show that thousands of children have been enrolled and mainstreamed to government schools. In addition, there are various cases in which parents have transferred their children from private school to government school, citing the charging of hefty fees in private schools and the community classes conducted by government school teachers during closure period of school as reasons for the transfer.
When the schools made commitment with the parents that they will impart quality education to their wards, the parents have come forward to enroll their children in government schools.
However, it is said that accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result. So now onwards, teachers have to shoulder extra accountability and responsibility to prove their mettle like the way they did during the Covid pandemic period.
The enrollment is just a start from where the job of the teachers begins. Once the parents are made to accept that government schools can do at par with private schools or better, the teachers need to prove this commitment practically, which is possible only when you put your heart and soul into work in the classroom and teach with great enthusiasm and energy.