Curriculum clash | ‘Levelling Pvt schools with Govt schools unacceptable’

Srinagar, Jan 4: The J&K Educational Welfare Alliance (JKEWA) Thursday accused the government of discrimination between the private and government schools and said that the recent decision of the J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) was not acceptable.

Addressing media persons, the JKEWA, which is an amalgam of Kashmir Book Sellers Stationers Association, J&K Unaided Private Schools Coordination Committee, Kashmir Private School Federation, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) said the recent decision to use textbooks of BOSE has sparked concern among the stakeholders.

“The motive can be standardising the education sector but it adversely restricts the choice available to the students and parents. It is potentially hindering the global aspiration of our youth and jeopardising the principle of a free and innovative education system,” the association said.

They said that the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020, a transformative blueprint designed by the GoI underscores the skill-based learning leveraging digital and communicative formats to facilitate the holistic development of students.

“But at the same time we must think about whether the textbooks which the BOSE is trying to implement in the private schools, are in resonance with the NEP-2020 and do they cater to the curriculum design of the NEP,” they said.

The association said the decision to have a common curriculum poses a threat to the quality of the education.

Talking to media persons, C L Vishan who was representing J&K Unaided Private Schools Coordination Committee said the legal status gives the private sector of education full autonomy for administering their institutions.

“The only rider is that the syllabus will be prescribed by the BOSE and the eligibility of the teachers will be fixed by the government besides maintaining the transparency in the admission policy,” Vishan said.

Referring to the court judgments, Vishan said that the government was not honouring the judgement that had been already passed by the court regarding the functioning of private schools.

“In the past, when NCERT was introduced, the elite found that it was not up to the standard of their children and they floated CBSE to ensure that their children are properly processed through quality education,” he said.

Vishan said that it was unfortunate that the nation was not conscious of the fact that the children of the poor are equally important and more important than the children of the elite.

“There is a discrimination being done and the government has put a threat on private schools that all the books will be prescribed by the BOSE to all its affiliated schools,” he said.

Vishan said that the government does not want children across the country to have equal and better opportunities.

Drawing a comparison of the books published by BOSE and those of private publishers, he said that the textbooks of private publishers were more explanatory and helped in understanding the concepts, particularly in science subjects.

“The decisions are going extreme now and we are feeling like we are going against a war. The height is that they have decided that they will prescribe textbooks for nursery kids as well,” he said.

Vishan said that earlier people heard about communism in economics which failed but now the government was resorting to communism in education.

“They are levelling our private schools with the government schools but the private schools stand on their merit and quality,” he said.

Vishan said that there was competition in quality but the government does not understand that if there is no competition then there will be no improvement in the quality.

“I want to give feedback to the government that contrary to their policies of ease of doing business and welfare of people, they are reversing its policies when it comes to the education sector,” he said.

Vishan accused the administration of adopting a discriminatory approach to obtaining NoC, asking why NoC was mandatory for only private schools.

“Doesn’t a kid of a poor man in a government school need the safety of his kid? Shouldn’t his kid feel safe in government school? Is safety mandatory for students enrolled in private schools only,” he said.

Vishan said that the government had made the private education sector more miserable and asked the government to wind up the private education sector instead of making it miserable.

“We are complimenting their work in promotion of the education sector and the present government is trying to encourage privatisation in other sectors but in the education sector they are doing the reverse of it,” he said.

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