Implementation of the Act mandatorily required in the UT of J&K: Prof Pandita
By Farooq Shah
SRINAGAR: The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Jammu and Kashmir Thursday invited scores of academicians and experts to participate in a 3-day workshop regarding framing rules and guidelines for the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
The workshop, which is taking place at the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE) auditorium, was earlier inaugurated by the director SCERT, J&K, Prof Veena Pandita. Former Director School Education Kashmir, Mohammad Rafi who is also the chairperson of the advisory council to private schools’ association and Principal Degree College, Pampore, Prof Seema Naz are among a galaxy of experts participating in the workshop. Senior JKBOSE officials including Assistant Director Academics Dr Arif Jan and Joint Secretary Publications, Prof Abdul Wahid Makhdoomi, Principal DIETs, law officers from the Directorate of School Education Kashmir also participated in the workshop.
Prof Pandita hailed the decision of the School Education Department in entrusting the responsibility of holding the workshop cum consultative meet to the SCERT, J&K for seeking valuable suggestions on the RTE Act, Rules 2020 drafted by School Education Department and vetted by Department of Law (J&PA).
Pertinently, the (RTE) Act, 2009 has been extended to the UT of J&K under the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019. The Act focuses on compulsory and free education to all children up to the age of 14. It has special provisions for admission of out-of-school children including the enhancement of learning abilities of children at an early age.
Prof Pandita impressed upon the participants to thoroughly examine the draft of RTE Act Rules, 2020 and provide candid suggestions required for incorporating in the draft RTE Act so that the same could be submitted to the School Education Department for making the required necessary changes.
“The implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act is mandatorily required in the UT of J&K at the earliest in the best interest of the children at par with other states/UTs wherein the said Act is being already implemented in letter and spirit,” she remarked.
While tracing the history of many different Acts with regard to education in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir right from the time Maharaja Hari Singh ruled here, Ex Director School Education, Mohammad Rafi, said that (RTE) Act 2009 was replete with opportunities and entitlements that we’ve sadly been unable to cash on.
“I’ve read the Act and we can implement it with our eyes shut,” Rafi, while hailing the Act as “futuristic and flexible document”, said. “Actually, this act provides a wide range of entitlements, rights, facilities, concessions, incentives and protections for the children.”
He said the contextualization of the educational requirements of our children is very much heeded in the Act.
“The Act offers us a host of liberties including framing our own curriculum as per our local needs,” Rafi, while appreciating the open-mindedness of the government in passing the Act, said.
“There has been a lot of unnecessary delay in its implementation which we can only lament on,” Rafi remarked. “I hope the outcome of this workshop will facilitate a speedy implementation of the Act.
Principal Degree College, Pampore, Prof Seema Naz, outlined various challenges including decline in enrolment in government-run schools.
“The implementation of the much-needed Act assumes greater significance in the light of a steep decline in the enrolment vis-à-vis a catastrophic dropout rate in the government schools,” Prof Naz said.
Dr. Mudasir Gul of the Education Research and Survey Assessment (ERSA) Wing of the SCERT, Srinagar showcased many Powerpoint presentations during the discussion that helped the participants to lay a firm grip on the subject.
The participants deliberated for several hours in the second session of the workshop and the outcome of the workshop would be presented to the government in the shape of a document.
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