Expert panel begins work on ‘Education Policy’

Srinagar, March 06: The government will reach out to civil society groups in the state to frame an education policy to restrict decline in enrollment of children in government-run schools and improve literacy rate in the State.
According to officials, an expert panel headed by member of the National Minority Commission, Farida Khan, has been constituted to work out the education policy. The members will hold interaction with civil society groups in Kashmir about the issue for four days in Srinagar, beginning March 22.
“The government will hold the discussions with the civil society groups and the stakeholders in education sector including noted educationists to frame the education policy,” said a senior official of the Education department.
He said the government has felt the need for the policy in view of decline in enrollment and low literacy rate in the state.
“There has been only marginal increase in literacy rate and the gap between the male and female literacy rate has widened,” said an official.
The 1961 census had put the literacy rate of the state at 11.03 percent which increased to 18.58 percent in 1971 and 26.67 percent in 1981. Between 2001-11 literacy rate has increased only from 55.5 percent to 68.74 percent, official records reveal. Compared to this, the literacy rate at the national level as per 2011 census is 74.04 percent.
Government statistics points to the employment of girl children in the agriculture and domestic activities in the state for a gap in male and female literacy rate. Against the male literacy rate of 78.26 percent, the female literacy rate in the state is 58.01 percent.
Officials said the task of the education panel is to find measures to check drop in enrollment in government schools and suggest measures for the state to implement the Right to Education Act (RTE).
The records have shown that while enrollment in schools has declined, the number of private schools have only increased. In comparison to 23636 government schools, the number of private schools in the state is 5200.
Director School Education, Kashmir, Mir Tariq Ali, said, “The education panel will suggest measures to improve the education standards in the state. Government has however also taken many steps to improve the education system in the state and the literacy rate and enrollment in schools. The work of the officials has been made target-driven.”

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