Students, The Worst Sufferers In Kashmir

There is a frequent closure of schools after every unfortunate and untoward incident, which is a common occurrence in the Valley.  This despite long winter vacations as compared to other states due to wintery conditions when infrastructure collapses making it impossible for schools to remain open.

This year the season was not so bad during the winter months, so the arrangements for reopening of schools were in full swing from the last week of February itself. Teachers were asked to resume their duties from February 26, to make all necessary arrangements for their students who were asked to attend schools from March 5th.

Teachers were asked by higher authorities of the department to celebrate the first day in the schools as a welcome day for children, to keep students in a  happy mood at the very first day in the schools after the vacations.

The parents also had arranged requisites like uniforms, bags etc for their children to start their new academic session well. 

Mostly the students get stuck in their homes during long winters as Kashmir lacks any kind of recreational facility for young people. Naturally, when long winter vacations come to an end, the enthusiasm of students to go back to schools is at an all-time high.

So like their parents, the students too were eagerly waiting for new and pleasant schooling season.

However, the sad part is Kashmir is not a normal place as the issue bogging it refuses to allow our children a normal day to day activity. 

This happened again when security persons shot dead a few Kashmiris and with that dashed hopes of thousands of young students. The first thing Govt did was to close schools before reopening them.

Apparently, to avoid protests, the government immediately extended the winter break for some more days,  not due to the heavy snowfall which often becomes the reason for the extension of winter break, but this time it was due to the heavy bloodbath of innocent civilians in Shopian.

This is just an example that how, like every sector in Kashmir,  the education sector also suffers due to lingering Kashmir dispute. 

It is a route now that whenever such incidents happen here, the first announcement which comes through media is ” schools will remain closed to maintain law and order and to avoid any untoward incident”.

The academic session was worst hit in the year 2016, during “Burhan Episode”, when hundreds of children were killed during protests. With the result the schools remained closed for almost seven month’s including three month’s winter break.

Later,  the government took a decision to give mass promotion to students up to class eighth  ” to next higher class without examination”. Earlier mass promotion to students was also given in 2014 after a natural calamity of floods hit the valley which had become the cause for closure of schools.

However last year government took a decision to start winter tuitions which are  offered by  education department free of cost. But this winter tuitioning has  not been a remedial measure because students in Kashmir already used to go for  private winter tuitioning  during winter months. The only benefit which students availed from government established tuition  centres was  saving of tuition fees. 

Now the question is, what kind of remedial measure can overcome the academic deficiencies as missing of precious school working days now has become a norm in the Kashmir valley.

 Azad Hussain

 [email protected]

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