Mid-Day Meals cost Rs102-Cr Last Year;Baramulla has 1983 Govt Schools

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SRINAGAR: In the year 2015-2016, the students studying up to 8th class in government Schools across Jammu and Kashmir consumed mid-day meals worth Rs hundred crore.

An amount of Rs 102.45 crore was spent on mid-day meal of school going children in the state, this was revealed in State Assembly on Monday.

Mid-day Meal Scheme is a school meal programme of the government of India aimed to improve the nutritional status of school-age children.

Jammu and Kashmir has 24000 government schools with highest in district Baramulla where 1983 schools are run by government followed by Kupwara which has 1870. Leh has only 376 government schools.

The allocation of funds on mid-day meal scheme in Jammu region was slightly lesser than Kashmir.

In Kashmir, including districts Leh and Kargil, the allocation of funds of mid-day meal amounted to Rs 53.16 crore and Jammu saw for Rs 49.3 crore in the session 2015-2016.

Among the 22 districts, Baramulla, the most populous districts of the state, topped the list. Here Rs 10.43 crore was spent on mid-day meal followed by Kupwara.

The least allocation was seen in Kargil district. Only Rs 0.63 crore was spent on the scheme.

On other activities related to education like free text books, uniform, Teachers’ salary, training, school grant, management costs, KGBV, Block resource centre, maintenance grants  government spent over Rs 1800 crore in the state during the year 2015-2016 of which some 966 crores where spent in Kashmir region. The outlaid amount was around Rs 2337 crore for the year 2015-2016.

On these education related activities, in Kashmir region Baramulla spent highest (Rs 182 crore) in the state. Kupwara followed it in this case as well spending Rs 164.99 crore. Ganderbal spent only Rs 33 crore.

For providing free text books no districts spent even a single penny on this front.

Out of 24000 government schools, 3372 Schools are functioning from rented buildings across the state. The amount of rent paid during the past two years stands at Rs 99.25 crore, however, it informed that all schools across Jammu and Kashmir have been provided with proper toilet facilities.

The feat has been achieved after the start of Swach Bharat Mission. Under the mission all the schools across India were provided toilet facilities.

Jammu district has 1582 schools including 8 migrant schools- the only district in the state with such schools. Apart from holding the distinction of hosting migrant Schools, Jammu has 37 B Ed colleges; the highest in the state.

While on elementary education front Kupwara is doing better than most of the less “backward” districts, in higher education sector the government have neglected it. For instance Kupwara has only one B Ed college.

The other three districts with only one B Ed college are Shopian, Poonch, Kishtwar. All these districts have no ETT colleges at all.

At present, state has 144 Chief Minister’s Model Schools. The highest number of model schools fall in district Baramulla which is 17 followed by Jammu which has 16 such schools. Kargil has only one model school.

These Model schools are established after identification of one or two schools by a lawmaker in his/her constituency are adopted either by chief minister or a lawmaker or public bodies like universities and banks.

Despite so many steps taken by government, there are still nine districts in state where drop rates have worsened.

However, overall dropout rates at Secondary level gone better— by 6.22% in one year.

The government estimates of 2015-2016 show the rate at 17.62% and the estimates of 2014-2015 show it 23.84%. Islamabad district has highest dropout rate of 44.67% according to 2014-2015 estimates.

Jammu district has lowest dropout rate which is 6.56% followed by Samba district which has a shown a dropout rate of 7.21% according to same estimate. However, according to earlier estimates Samba had dropout rate of only 0.53%. Out of 22 districts in the state, nine are such where dropout rate has increased and 11 districts have dropout rate higher than the rate at state level.

Jammu district has significant improvements in this area. According to 2013-2014 estimates, the dropout rate here was 13.95%. Poonch is the most improved district. Earlier dropout rate in Poonch 2013-2014 estimate was 25.79% and now it is only 13.52%.

At primary and upper primary level, the dropout rate according to 2014-2015 estimates is 5.66% and 4.18% respectively which is better than what it was according to 2013-2014 estimates. In Primary Schools, the rate of dropouts among girls is lower (5.52%) than boys (5.78%). However, at upper primary level, the trend flips.

The government said that there is deficiency of teachers in schools. The government said that it has asked the Public Service Commission to recruit 1059 lecturers at secondary level and to meet the deficiency.

Furthermore, the government will be recruiting 1930 teachers to fill the vacant posts in various schools. “The posts will be referred to recruiting agency once the amendments in Non-Gazetted Recruitment rules, which are at an advanced stage, will be notified,” a reply by Minister in-charge to education to the state assembly revealed.

In Srinagar alone there are 495 teacher posts vacant in various government schools.

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