Mushtaq Hurra

A peep into JKBOSE

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Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE) Kashmir is an important part of our school education system. The board is entrusted with the job to conduct examinations of different classes – 10th, 11th and 12th. Moreover, the board runs diploma courses for undergraduate teachers i.e. D.ed (Diploma in education). This institution has the important charge of framing and reviewing textbooks for our schools from 1st primary to 12th standard.

The institution could have expanded its wings further but probable nepotism and corruption has paralyzed it to tread ahead. The academic directorate, with a director and a couple of assistant directors, has failed to achieve the already set goals. LG administration should take concrete steps to make this institution vibrant and dynamic.

The institution has failed miserably to live up to the expectations of the people. It has almost failed on all fronts. No doubt, it conducts examinations of different classes but one fails to understand the logic behind exorbitant amounts charged in the name of printing charges. In UPSC examinations, a candidate requires just a hundred rupee to take part in the preliminary examination, and rupees two hundred to appear in mains examination. But, our own board of school education loots people in the name of stationery charges.

Candidates are asked to deposit many hundred rupees for re-evaluation and re-checking of answer sheets. People have always raised eyebrows against this despotic attitude but bowed before the stubbornness of the institution. If a teacher is paid rupees fifteen or twenty to evaluate one paper, why is a candidate asked to deposit three or four hundred rupees for the re-evaluation of the same paper? Very bizarre it is indeed!

Our board exams are mostly held in the winter months of the year. But, we know the inadequate heating facilities provided to the children in our examination centres. I have been witness to this official apathy. Children shiver under bone chilling cold, their fingers freeze to write but authorities hardly pay any heed to it.

Every year, more than two lakh students take part in different examinations as regular and private candidates. The revenue generated thus amounts to crores of rupees. Teachers performing examination duties as superintendents, supervisors, invigilators and evaluators are paid paltry amounts. Board authorities swallow lions share. No doubt, stationery and other charges such as evaluation is meted out from the same amount but the board of school education has never come out with annual statements regarding the surplus revenue generated through various means.

Government should take cognizance of the matter and should audit the institution thoroughly. I believe, big embezzlements and discrepancies will surface if the institution’s assets, revenue production and expenditures are thoroughly audited and accounted for. Let the incumbent administration look into the matter.

The institution charges excessively large amounts in the name of issuance of certificates and marks sheet verification and authentication. I don’t understand the logic behind charging a person rupees six hundred for the verification of his/her genuine certificate issued by the same institution. Besides, it takes months together for a person to get his/her certificates and credentials verified from the board. Contrary to the rest of India, the institution fails to deliver things well in time. Seeking rectification of names and addresses in certificates and documents, horrifies students and their parents. It is a Herculean task  here. But, the same thing is very easy in other parts of the country.

Textbooks for our schools are devised, prepared and framed by this institution. The books have become almost obsolete and outdated. These antiquated textbooks are believed to be reason behind the underperformance of our government schools. The institution has come under severe criticism from different quarters, for failing to update the textbooks of different classes though some paltry work has been done in last few years.

Private sector textbooks are far better than the books prepared by board of school education Kashmir. There is huge disparity between the textbooks of private sector and those provided by this institution. There is indeed quantitative and qualitative incongruousness between the textbooks of two service providers. Teachers, students and parents have been demanding  innovation in the textbooks provided to students in government schools. These books should have been overhauled and brought parallel to textbooks of private sector. But, no, the institution has failed miserably to deliver. The institution has been castigated and lambasted for not responding to the demands of modernization and globalization. In the era of global village, we can’t afford to continue with our old and obsolete textbooks because the horizon of our competition has increased by manifolds.

The institution has failed miserably to introduce vocational courses and subjects at 10+2 level i.e.,11th and 12th. The institution has probably no vision or roadmap to tackle the growing unemployment rate in our valley. Our colleges and universities are producing thousands of BAs and MAs annually but they don’t have any job or work. Had board of school education Kashmir introduced vocational and job oriented courses at higher secondary levels, the evil of unemployment could have been nipped in the bud. But, no, our children still study those common and traditional subjects. Consequently, unemployment piles up. Time has changed. We need to modify our ways of living and studying. Everyone can’t be a government employee. Let this institution introduce new, job oriented courses at 10+2 level to produce entrepreneurs and bread-earners rather than producing robots who can only read and write.

The institution arranges diploma in education ( D.ed ) for undergraduate teachers at different DIETs. But, irony of the matter is that the syllabi of D.ed course has become too obsolete and too old to continue with. The board should come up with new syllabi in accordance with the changing times and demands, for its undergraduate teachers so that the teachers are acquainted with innovative and new teaching pedagogies and methods. Hope this institution will give a serious thought to it.

This institution used to run open schooling for poor and destitute students who had to leave their schools for one or the other reason. Such students would pass their 10th and 12th examinations through this mode. But, the initiative has become defunct due to the negligence of the institution. Need of the hour is to restart this program so that thousands of poor students can be benefited.

The institution should pave way for the construction of hi-tech examination centres at district level. It has the required finances to get these centres constructed. It will not only prove instrumental for our educational progress but will greatly help the institution to restore its prestige. Sub offices at district and tehsil levels should be upgraded in terms of workforce and infrastructure. Let’s hope the board authorities will wake up from the deep slumber and sluggishness of decades to serve the people better.

– The writer is teacher and columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]

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