Srinagar, Dec 24: The 2023 was a mix of challenges and achievements for Jammu and Kashmir School Education Department (SED).
The most notable change in 2023 was the introduction of the March session examinations conducted by the JK Board for secondary and senior secondary classes. Lower classes, on the other hand, saw examinations conducted by respective schools under the supervision of District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs). This shift aimed to align with the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 implemented by the J&K government.
Despite these efforts, achieving the targeted 220 academic days, as envisioned by the JK Board of School Education, proved challenging.
Unforeseen early winters disrupted the academic calendar, leaving schools in the Valley with only 150 to 160 academic days before the announcement of a three-month-long winter vacation.
Another hurdle for the department was the delay in distribution of the textbooks. While textbooks were supposed to be distributed from April 5, 2023, they reached some schools as late as July. This posed a challenge for both students and teachers, affecting the overall academic schedule.
Amidst these challenges, the SED introduced the "carry on" initiative, a student-friendly measure allowing the students who couldn't qualify the class 10th annual regular-2023 board examination to take provisional admission in class 11th. This initiative, a departure from previous years, saved valuable time for students and enabled them to continue their education. During previous years, the carry on system was available for only those students whose only one book was shown reappear in class 10th exams. But this year the facility was availed by students who had more than one book and was shown as reappearing in class 10th regular exam.
In an effort to provide a holistic educational experience, the SED organised exposure visits for students to explore the rich cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir. Initiatives like redesigning and rediscovering toys and games with innovative ideas engaged more than 1.25 lakh students from 9391 schools across the UT of J&K.
The year also witnessed SCERT, under the guidance of NCERT, piloting the implementation of the Holistic Progress Card for Foundational and Preparatory Stages in 60 pre-primary and primary schools. This 360-degree Progress Card aims to record academic and co-curricular progress and provide remedial measures for overall child development.
The SED placed a significant focus on teacher training, with more than 25,000 teachers receiving training under the objectives of the NIPUN Bharat Mission, aiming to attain Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
As the academic session nears its end, a unique issue emerged with the JK Board of School Education withholding Registration and Renewal Forms (RRF) for students of approximately 200 schools having land and other issues. The fate of these students, whether they will be allowed to appear in upcoming class 10th exams from their respective schools or be tagged with nearby schools, remains uncertain.
As the year draws to a close, all eyes are on the government to address this issue and ensure a smooth conclusion to the academic session.