Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir’s School Education sector is set to undergo a major transformation with a budget allocation of Rs 1522 crore for 2023-24 financial year.
Besides other initiatives, the focus of this allocation is on two key areas – digital transformation and gender-specific toilet facilities in schools.
The digital transformation of schools is a key priority for the government, as it recognizes the importance of technology in today’s world.
The funds allotted to the school education department under new budget allocation will be used to provide schools with the necessary infrastructure and resources to make the transition to digital learning.
This includes providing schools with computers, laptops, and other electronic devices, as well as high-speed internet connectivity.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration recently announced budgetary allocation for all the departments wherein the School Education sector has been allocated an amount of Rs 1522 crore for the financial year 2023-24.
The budget will focus on digital transformation in schools wherein the government is mulling to establish 188 virtual reality laboratories and 40 robotic laboratories in the government schools across Jammu and Kashmir.
The move comes after various National level surveys have pointed out lack of access of school going children to computers and lack of internet connectivity in government schools.
The government is also proposing to establish 1000 smart classrooms with LCD facilities and high speed internet connectivity in schools across J&K.
In addition, the government is also focusing on providing gender-specific toilet facilities in schools.
This is an important step towards ensuring that girls are able to attend school without any barriers or obstacles.
The budget allocation will be used to construct separate toilet facilities for girls in all schools across the state.
This newspaper earlier reported that a national survey conducted in 2022 revealed that the J&K School Education Department (SED) was yet to achieve a 100 percent target of having separate usable toilets for girl students in the schools.
The findings of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)-2022 revealed that only 53 percent of the schools in J&K have a provision of separate usable toilet blocks for girl students.
The survey revealed that out of all the schools, around 23 percent of the schools completely lack the provision of having separate toilets for girls.
The present budget allocation is part of a larger effort by the government to improve education in Jammu and Kashmir.
The J&K government which has already taken a lead in implementation of National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 is likely to get a boost with the new budget allocation which has a specific focus on “full implementation” of NEP-2020.
The budget will also focus on the establishment of Kindergartens in schools and the government is likely to establish around 2000 Kindergartens sections during 2023-24 for providing quality pre-primary education.
The Principal Secretary SED Alok Kumar earlier told Greater Kashmir that there was no focus on the pre-primary (Kindergarten) section in the government prior to the launch of NEP-2020.
He said that with the implementation of NEP-202, the department is focusing more on it and has already established more than 2000 kindergarten schools across J&K.
The Budget also proposes to fully implement Samarth “ERP eGov Suite” in 2023-24 besides introducing Yoga training for all the students as part of co-curricular activities.
Around 10 residential schools will be established with preference to tribal students and students from weaker sections in the new budget.