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Dip In Student Numbers; Education Deptt to start enrollment drives in Government schools

Srinagar: The School Education Department is planning to hold a massive enrollment drive to increase the student population in the government schools.

The move comes after the schools witnessed a dip in student enrollment since last year.

In a circular issued, the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has instructed all the Chief Education Officers (CEOs), Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) and schools heads to conduct enrollment drives in their jurisdiction from November 10 to 15 this year to facilitate optimum enrollment in government schools.

As per the official figures, the enrollment of students at elementary level in government schools witnessed a decrease by 1.75 lakh students in a year.

The decrease in enrollment of students was reported at a time when the School Education Department organised enrollment drives in villages and towns to increase the student population in government schools.

Recently, the official documents produced by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL) Government of India (GoI), revealed that the enrolment of students in government schools across J&K decreased by 2 percent.

As per the official figures, the enrolment decreased by 0.2 lakh at the primary level and 0.1 lakh at the upper primary level, which resulted in a decrease of 0.34 lakh enrolment at the elementary level.

As per the documents, the decrease was about 0.07 lakh at secondary level and 0.04 lakh at the higher secondary level.

The figures revealed that the School Education Department also performed poorly in maintaining the retention rate of the students at the primary, upper primary and secondary level classes in government schools.

The startling revelation came to the fore during a Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting chaired by secretary education and literacy in the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) in June 2020. The total enrollment decline between the grades was nearly 1.75 lakh in 2019-20.

The government schools also witnessed a decline in the retention rate which was 60 percent at elementary level and 50 percent at secondary level.

In wake of this, the School Education Department last year launched a comprehensive village-level survey to identify the Out of School Children (OoSC) and also offer new admissions to students in kindergartens besides primary and upper primary classes to increase the enrollment in government schools.

Since last year, the department was prompted to start the village-level survey to identify the OoSC and door-to-door enrollment drive after witnessing a dip in student population in government schools.

This year, the DSEK would formally kick start the enrollment drive from Kupwara district on November 10 for which all the concerned field functionaries have been directed to conduct the activity with immediate effect and document the achievements as well.

As part of the enrollment drive, the heads of schools and teachers have been asked to conduct the door-to-door campaigning besides organising rallies by children and conducting camps for holding discussion with parents to motivate them for enrolling kids in government schools.

To have public ownership over government schools, the department would rope in School Management Committees (SMCs) and Village Education Committees (VECs) besides other community leaders including Panchayat representatives and village elders.

Like previous years, the teachers would also identify the Out of School Children and Children with Special Needs as well.

“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,” the circular reads.

Under the enrollment drive, the department would include mainstreaming Out of School Children including school dropouts and never enrolled children and enroll them in government schools.

“All CEOs and ZEOs should oversee the campaign at district and zonal levels. Cluster heads will also look after the campaign at the cluster level,” it reads.

The teachers and heads of the schools have been instructed to strictly adhere to Covid SOPs (Covid Appropriate Behavior) during the campaign.

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