Schools in Srinagar Remain Deserted

SRINAGAR – Students continued to stay away from classes despite authorities reopening Higher Secondary Schools (HSSs) on Thursday, one month after announcing reopening of primary and high schools in Kashmir, where shutdown against scrapping of Article 370 and 35 A completed 62 days on Saturday.

However, some private schools have rented rooms in different localities in the summer capital, Srinagar, where teachers of these educational institutes are trying to complete syllabus of Class 10 and Class 12 before the final board examinations later this month.

Meanwhile, all degree and engineering colleges and universities continued to remain closed since August 5.

The state government has already announced that there will be no mass promotion and students will have to appear in the examinations.

The state government ordered closure of all educational institutions in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, when centre scrapped Article 370 and 35 A, besides divided the state into two Union Territories — Ladakh region and Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision evoked sharp reaction from within the state and outside, including mainstream political party leaders.The authorities also snapped mobile and internet service of all Cellular companies, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) from August 5.

Schools and colleges were reopened in Jammu and Ladakh regions in a phased manner last month. However, educational institutions remained closed in Kashmir valley.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan announced reopening of upto primary schools followed by middle and High Schools last month. However, there was no response from the students, who stayed away. Parents, fearing trouble, said until communication was restored they will not sent their children to schools.

Even though students from lower classes did not attend their schools, Mr Khan earlier this week announced reopening of all HSSs from Thursday in the valley.

However, majority of the HSSs in the valley remained deserted as students preferred to stay indoors in view of the situation though teachers and other ministerial staff present were present in these institutions.

Not a single student attended classes in Government SP Higher Secondary School on Maulana Azad Road, where a large number of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) were present in the compound. “No student came to the school since the HSSs were reopened,” staff of the school said.

In the downtown, all Government Higher secondary Schools wore a deserted look with only security forces deployed outside and teachers waiting inside. Similar reports were also received from headquarters of districts in south, north and central Kashmir.

Meanwhile, reports from far flung and remote areas could not be ascertained due to suspension of mobile and internet service in the valley.

Many private schools have asked their Class 10 and Class 12 students to attend classes in rooms rented in private accommodation. “The School authorities have asked us to send our children to private accommodation rented by them so that the syllabus of students is completed before Class 10 and Class 12 examinations,” Nazir Ahmad, a parent, said.

But, parents expressed reservation on sending their children to schools in view of current situation, communication gag and non-availability of transportation. “How can we send our children to schools since there is no public transport,” Rashid Ahmad, a parent said, adding ‘we won’t be able to communicate with our in case there is any emergency in the absence of mobile phones’.

“Let government restore mobile service and public transport in the valley before announcing such decisions,” he added.

The private educational institutions have already asked their students to fill examination forms and complete other formalities for appearing in BOSE examination. The private institutions provided study material, including video lessons, to students of all classes from LKG to class 12th to study at homes. The private schools have also announced admission for new classes in the valley, where new session starts from November every year.

However, students of government schools were not so lucky as there was no arrangements for providing video lessons and study material to them. “Besides casual approach by BOSE in providing relief to students by providing study materials, they (government school students) cannot afford computers to study video lessons at home since they are from poor and Below Poverty Line (BPL) families,” parents said.    (Agencies)

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