December 2017 News

Bridging Gap Between Kashmir, India: JK, MHRD Mulling Exchange Programmes For Govt Schools

12 December 2017
Kashmir Monitor
Nisar Dharma

Srinagar: To 'remove the gap' between students of Kashmir and the rest of India, the J&K government is in the process of linking, at least, 100 government-run high schools of the valley to those in the other states. An official privy to implementation of the 'new initiative' said that its modalities are currently being worked out between the J&K Government and the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD). The linking of schools, the official said, is expected to start in January, with the programme being funded under centrally-sponsored Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and regulated by the Central Board of School Education. 'The programme has been approved by the government of India. Its modalities, however, are to be approved by the RMSA Project Approval Board for which the state has to submit its plan,' the official said. As per the initial sketching of the programme, at least 2,000 students of class 9 and 10 of the selected Kashmir schools will regularly tour their corresponding 'sister schools' in several states including New Delhi, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. The students, as per the official, will be guided by counsellors, who will 'help them be emotionally connected with each other'. 'They will participate in quiz competitions and other co-curricular activities. The initiative aims to remove the gap between students of Kashmir and the remaining India and to create strong bonds among them,' the official said, adding that the paired schools will be digitally connected to share 'good practices' and for the students to learn from each other. The school linking programme is in line with the RMSA plan of conducting 'exposure visits' of 10,000 government high schools' students from 10 Kashmir districts to several states of India, a move that is expected to start early next year. Both these- exposure visits and student exchange programme-are, as per a source in RMSA, a part of a roadmap which MHRD has devised for the revival of education in Kashmir in the backdrop of the 2016 uprising. The roadmap, as per the source, includes counselling adolescent students who are or are likely to be affected by conflict, insurance for teachers, encouraging CBSE based curriculum in schools, restoring damaged infrastructure, and providing ICT tools of learning. The State Project Director, RMSA, Tufail Mattoo, was not available for his comments despite repeated attempts.