Syed Junaid Hashmi
77.78 percent of schools under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) are without classrooms and 80.86 percent are without computer facility.
As per the official data, against the total released funds of Rs. 1236 crore, an amount of Rs. 928 crore (75.07%) funds were utilized w.e.f. 2007-08 to 2015-16 in respect of Jammu Division. The utilization percentage of funds is low. It is important that funds provided are utilized in full so that the objectives of the scheme can be achieved in a time-bound manner as stipulated.
As per the physical targets and achievement of TLE grants, against the achievement of 1036 newly opened primary schools, the TLE grants were provided only to 501 schools and against the achievement of conversion of 3487 EGS to Primary schools only 279 schools were provided TLE grants during the period 2007-08 to 2011-12.
During 2007-08 to 2011-12, against the target of 1190 opening of new primary schools, 1036 new schools were opened i.e. 87.06 percent. Against the target of 3529 conversion of EGS into primary schools, 3487 were converted into primary schools i.e. 98.81 percent and against the target of up gradation of 1918 primary schools to upper primary schools, 1646 schools were upgraded i.e. 85.82 percent in the Jammu division.
During the year 2007-08, total enrollment of Jammu division under SSA was 485614 which increased to 551339 by the end of 2011-12 i.e. an increase of 13.53 percent over the base year. There was an increase of 8.20 percent in case of enrollment of boys whereas correspondingly there was a significant increase in the enrollment of girls i.e. 19.68 percent during the reference period.
Under school grants, out of 36 sample selected schools only 33 schools had received funds during 2015-16. It is a matter of concern that three schools were not provided school grants. Zones were not provided funds under School Maintenance grants. It is suggested that funds for school maintenance grants must be provided to all schools without any bias.
50 percent schools in the selected education zones were having shortage of teaching staff. This must be looked at seriously and posts of the teachers must be filled on priority. 77.78 percent of schools were short of class rooms as per norms under SSA. This issue is of utmost importance and must be taken seriously by the administrative department. It is not possible to fulfil the basic objectives of the scheme when the basic infrastructure is not present in the schools.
It was observed that 16.67 percent sample schools were not having drinking water facility, 19.44 percent schools had no separate toilet facility. Also 8.61 percent of contacted parents asserted that proper sitting arrangement was not present in the school. It is suggested that all the schools be provided with these important facilities.
It was observed that where drinking water facility is available, there also the supply was not regular.
Moreover, water tanks were not cleaned at regular interval and some water tanks were not covered with lids. Similarly, it was observed that in the schools which had the toilet facility, the toilets were unhygienic and in some schools the toilets were found locked.
Lack of drinking water and separate toilet facility discourages enrollment in the schools, provision of these facilities must be ensured in all the schools. The School Management itself needs to perform minor functions like cleaning of tanks and toilets etc. Very few schools had computer learning facility for students. Out of 209 parents, 80.86 percent asserted that computer facility were not available in schools. It was also observed that there were no trained computer teachers posted in most of the sample schools.
Computers and computer teachers must be provided to the schools so that students can get the knowledge and benefit from computer facility. Despite completion of more than 10 years of implementation of SSA scheme there is still lack of basic infrastructure facilities in the government schools. Most of the schools were not having adequate teachers and class-rooms.
The safe drinking water facility, separate toilet facility, fans, adequate sitting arrangement were not available in some of the schools. The authorities must ensure provision of these basic facilities, as lack of these facilities discourages enrollment in the government schools and in many cases results in migration to the private schools.