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News & Events

26 Mar 2006
Jammu & Kashmir: A tryst with destiny

Learning Station at Govt. Girls High School, Rajbagh.
Few states in India face the challenges that Jammu & Kashmir faces today. Decades of strife and political instability, and the resulting lack of development, have left the state with an impoverished economy and a weak infrastructure. With almost half of the population being illiterate, education continues to be a major challenge. In addition to the inherent problems like extreme weather and inaccessibility, the state faces a scarcity of adequate educational facilities including shortage of proper schools and qualified teachers. With low enrolment in schools, especially female enrolment, and high dropout rates, achieving universal elementary education by the year 2010 is an enormous challenge.

But there is a renewed sense of optimism in Jammu & Kashmir these days. The state is moving towards normalcy and there are signs of economic recovery. The state administration is keenly interested in rejuvenating the entire education setup. But the task is easier said than done. The administration realizes that the need of the hour is to incorporate innovative programs into the existing educational system. Alternate methods for children who cannot participate in mainstream schools and a revision of conventional methods and content to make education child-centric, need to be adopted. In this regard, HiWEL Learning Stations are of particular interest to the state that is in transition from conflict to stability.

Children at Govt. High School, Numain.
As part of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which is the central government’s main initiative for achieving universal elementary education, HiWEL Learning Stations have been commissioned in Jammu & Kashmir recently. The Learning Stations are spread over the four districts of Srinagar, Baramulla, Jammu and Udhampur. The Learning Stations have been set up in selected government schools of these districts.

As a part of all projects, HiWEL not only sets up the Learning Stations but also ensures that these have an impact on the children through community mobilisation, monitoring and evaluation, and learning interventions. Our early interactions in Jammu & Kashmir, and the baseline evaluation, indicate that the reaction to the Learning Stations has been uniformly positive. The children, the teachers and the community are extremely enthusiastic and perceive value in HiWEL’s offering. Our interactions also reveal that the community, especially the children, value education and see it as a means of employment and a way to improve their lives. Together with the children of Jammu & Kashmir, HiWEL hopes to make this dream possible.

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The Govt. Boys High School in Dewanbagh is more than 100 years old.

A teacher provides "hands-off" support to the children.

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