OPINION

Free Winter Tuition- A good for all initiative

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By: Zahid Mukhtar Rangraze

In the year 2016-17, the then Govt of J&K came up with an initiative of free winter coaching for all at some limited locations that were easily accessible, centrally located and with a good population of the student community. The program of Govt’s Free Winter Coaching was initially designed for the 10+2 pass outs that were desirous to sit in the NEET (the erstwhile CET) exams and other such competitive exams. The students had to qualify an entrance test prior to their free CET coaching, the seating capacity of which was 50 (fifty) and the initiative came to be known as “Super-50 Coaching”.

It was later on expanded to the lower classes at the zonal and cluster levels too, for the classes of 3rd-5th and 7th-12th, by setting up winter camps and winter tutorials respectively.

As the programme was a new experience for the students and the teachers, and because of the weak economic backgrounds of majority of our population, the free winter tuition initiative received enormous response and the teachers who were engaged for the said tuition centers were extremely enthusiastic and performed their jobs wholeheartedly in a positive pedagogical attitude.

Being part of the same ecosystem, while I appreciate and applaud the programme, there are certain very useful suggestions that I would want to share with the concerned authorities as well as with my colleagues and students as well so that the program may further broaden the outlook for the benefit of the students.

I feel the program is given a green signal at the time when major of the students have already turned towards the private coaching centers. This not only challenges the free winter tutorials but also declines the enrollment in Govt schools subsequently. So the programme like selection of tuition centers, engagement of teachers and mobilization of community etc, has to be there well in time prior to the completion of the academic session or prior to the closure of school for winter breaks.

Another facet of this initiative is that the teachers engaged for these winter tuition centers are ensured some incentives for their services in terms of rule 27 of J&K leave rules, 1979 and there are clear cut directions issued by the worthy DSEK and DSEJ in this regard.

The centers so mentioned be monitored regularly by the Zonal and District level monitoring agencies, so that these centers may get more effective, more purposeful and highly successful in every respect so as to keep a good pace with the private coaching centers.

The programme undoubtedly is a great opportunity of teaching learning experiences, a good step by the government which is aimed at the betterment of student community in general and for the poor students in particular, however, these tuition centers are still in dire need of help at the Govt level and as such need be helped accordingly at both administrative and economic levels. Government has to make it as fully accountable for grand success.

The writer is a teacher. zahidmukhtar268@gmail.com

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