New Delhi: Looking to improve the connect between young Indians in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and other states, the central government on Monday scaled up support for education in the mountain state, including exchange programmes and learning tours.

As part of the move, the centre will help the state in four ways—curriculum support, school affiliation, digital push and student exchange, the human resource development (HRD) ministry said on the sideline of a state education ministers’ meet in New Delhi.

While the National Council of Education, Research and Training (NCERT) will help the state school board develop a better curriculum, the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) will give affiliation to state schools in order to ensure schools in J&K meet the national standard.

School education secretary Anil Swarup said the state and the centre signed a memorandum Monday to work together on several aspect of education.

Swarup said 10,000 students from the state will be invited to study in schools in other states, while a similar number of students from other states would visit J&K, which would also ease any apprehensions about the state.

The move comes three days after the J&K state budget touched upon the need for more education linkages with India.

“A vast majority of our population has not stepped beyond Lakhanpur to see not only our country’s recent economic development, but also its great cultural diversity. It’s my firm belief that if our youth are exposed to the mainland, this will have positive impact on the situation in the state as well," state finance minister Haseeb Drabu said on Thursday while presenting the budget.

He proposed that each member of the state legislature nominate 50 boys and 50 girls from their constituency for such educational and learning tours.

“A central team had visited the state few times and we are today embarking on a journey," Swarup told reporters as J&K education minister Syed Altaf Bukhari nodded his head in agreement.

Transport connectivity like the Zozila Tunnel (connecting Srinagar, Kargil and Leh) and education can help bring Kashmir closer to the rest of the country, another government official said adding that the centre may give some grants to rebuild schools affected by militancy in the state. More than 31 schools were gutted in 2016-17 in bouts of violence and several others damaged partially in the Kashmir valley.

Meanwhile, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said the government will bring in a “white board revolution" in schools, aiming to provide digital boards in all schools.

India has a little more than 1.5 million schools, nearly 80% of which are government run. Javadekar said states, the centre, donations by community and corporate social responsibility funds can be used for the purpose. The HRD ministry is expected to formulate a policy over next few months, he said adding that state education ministers have expressed support for the plan.

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