Tuition Shops Face Heat After Acid Attack

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Trade War Breaks Out, Coaching Body Wants HC Ban On Govt Teachers Enforced

SRINAGAR: Last week’s acid attack here has brought so-called coaching centres back into focus, as the police on Monday reportedly came down hard uptown to enforce gender-segregated “classes” in such commercial establishments, even as strong criticism has been sparked off against the state’s criminal lack of action on High Court orders barring government lecturers and teachers from working in, or running, private tuition shops.

Though authorities denied conducting any raids, hundreds of students and scores of teachers of coaching centres were seen running away in commotion in Parraypora as several establishments shut down for the day after police squads moved into what has become the hub of the city’s private tuition trade.

The police said that it was merely acting against illegally-parked private vehicles in the vicinity of such centres and the crowds of layabouts hanging around in the area –the scene of the acid attack last Wednesday on a young female teacher.  

According to sources, the police asked tuition centres not to hold mixed classes, but to make separate arrangements for boys and girls.   

In what is partly a trade tussle, the Coaching Institutes Association of Kashmir has asked the government to implement orders by the Supreme Court of India and the state High Court barring teachers and lecturers in government service for working in, or running, private tuition classes.

A meeting held last week with the director of education is said to have made little progress except the officer’s tepid offer of asking coaching institutes to fill in some forms and pay registration fees of Rs 10,000 – no big deal for centres earning lakhs per month by dishing out notes.

The president of the Association, Engineer Ghulam Nabi Waar, said that a cartel of government bureaucracy, political leaders and some “moneybags” was obstructing the implementation of the High and Supreme Court orders.

“Government teachers, lecturers and professors have turned private coaching into a lucrative business,” En Waar said. “They do not do justice with their students in schools and colleges, and then proceed to loot children and their parents in the name of private tuitions.”  

“The same teachers, lecturers and professors who get scared at seeing a handful of children in schools and colleges engage more than 300 students at a time in private tuitions,” he said.

“The height is that some individuals who have achieved a monopoly on private tuitions hold such large coaching classes as requiring loud-speakers and public address systems,” he said. “This is an insult on teaching and education.”  

Demanding that the High Court and the Supreme Court rulings banning government teachers (engaged in high and higher-secondary schools, and colleges) from holding private tuitions be enforced forthwith, En Waar said that this could open lawful avenues of livelihood for educated unemployed youth.

Meanwhile, commenting on today’s action in Parraypora, the police said that it’s job was to uphold the law and not to regulate tuition centres.

“But if the government or higher authorities ask us to take actions against coaching centres, we will certainly do so,” an officer at the Sadr Police Station said. 

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