The Legitimate Desk
The J&K’s Education department is again in news as the ministry has taken a different decision to change the calendar for examination session of primary to higher secondary classes from November to March.
The decision has not been announced yet but Education Minister, Altaf Bukhari has already given his nod to the decision. Sources said Bukhari who is also looking after J&K’s Finance Ministry has taken chief minister Mehbooba Mufti into confidence. The decision could be announced any time in coming days and government is now looking for an appropriate time to make this decision public.
Education Minister Altaf Bukhari told reporters that he has given go-ahead to this decision. “I have gone through the presentation and it will help students.” Bukhari while batting for the March session said students will get benefit from this decision.
Officials in Education department said that the new academic session of colleges outside JK begins from June and July and students from J&K who want to pursue professional courses outside the state have to wait till July despite appearing in their class X or XII exams in November.
“The shifting of exam session to March can help curb the “menace of private coaching in lower classes,” he said adding that all teachers and heads of private and government schools have been taken into confidence.”
Though government and bureaucracy related to education department claim that all stake holders have been taken into confidence, however sources said that decision has been taken at the behest of some people who have close tie up with professional colleges and institutes outside the state.
Even the common people and original stakeholders have been kept in darkness. Even teachers of government and Valley based private schools have not been taken into confidence.
“This is a decision taken by elite minister to satisfy elite people. It will have its drawbacks ‘” a government school teacher said adding that top officials had tried to implement this type of decision in past but failed.
Unlike other states Kashmir is a sensitive state and any bad decision could have very serious complications. It is true government has every right to take the decision but if education system of JK will be closely examined there are many other serious issues that should be addressed at priority.
Even this decision could backfire and will create wedge between government and the public. Already youth population in Kashmir are annoyed with the PDP-BJP coalition government and they blame this government for failing on various fronts. Even students who are studying in higher classes are aggrieved with this decision.
“We get six months extra for coaching _from December to May. Moreover in the harsh winter months when temperature goes below sub zero no school can remain open. We are unable to understand how it will help the students,” says a senior officer.
He made a valid point that most of the government and private schools have no heating arrangements so it will become another issue. “Our schools lack basic amenities and not to talk about heating arrangements in the schools.”
Giving past example he said that earlier in 1984 the government tried to change the winter session to March however it failed.
Many people are of the opinion that there is no avenue for coaching in Kashmir as in rest of the country or other states and by getting extra four to five months the JK students had an edge over others by this decision. The students of JK will lose that edge and could be at the losing end.
This is not the burning issue for which government is showing so exigent, our education system is in doldrums and if minister would had given priority to those issues people would have appreciated the minister but when Nayeem Akther was an Education Minister along with Director Education he took some good steps that could have proved fruitful and laid a good foundation for otherwise deteriorating education setup, but he was shifted and department is back on its old practice.
There are other burning issues in Education which needs to be addressed but minister has no time for those issue because government lacks will to take on powerful lobby within the education set-up..The private schools are taking parents for a ride and issuing notifications at their will but for government that is not an issue as this is going to harm an influential lobby who are politically well connected.
Apart from this many schools in rural areas are without proper school buildings and other infrastructure that is not priority for the government because it doesn’t make any headlines and the students who suffer belong to poor families. Likewise there are many schools across JK where there is big difference between teacher-student ratio that too is not an issue.
Recently independent legislator from Langate engineer Rashid highlighted the plight of government schools in rural areas and put videos on social media that also didn’t help to move the administration. Also due to current situation students are losing their class that is also not the big issue, instead government is raising such issues which will give benefit to few families.
Once implemented the session change will receive backlash from not only the parents but students as well. If government is sincere they should take all stake holders on board decisions like this are never taken in closed rooms but need a threadbare discussions.
Our young generation has already become the victim of the follies of political leaders now time has come politicians should ponder whether they are not creating more trouble for the beleaguered students.