GROUND ASSESSMENT PUNCTURES PEERZADA’S FIGURES
‘Just 30 % schools functional in villages’
Srinagar, Aug 20: The Minister for Education Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed on Friday surprised one and all by churning out the “exaggerated” figures about the functioning of the Valley schools during the ongoing unrest.
The minister’s “assessment” that “despite present turmoil 90 percent of the schools have been functioning across the Valley” took the academics, students and officials in the Education Department by surprise.
While the figures ran contrary to the assessment made by the Directorate of School Education (DSEK) or the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) from time to time, the minister’s figures evoked laughter from the stakeholders.
“It is a blatant lie that despite the turmoil 90 per cent schools in Kashmir are functioning,” said a DSEK official, insisting not to be named. “In all probability, it is only the schools in remote villages of Kashmir that are functional. Otherwise the entire education system has come to a grinding halt.”
Sources in the Department of School Education said it becomes “almost impossible” for officials to reach the department, not to talk of students and teachers. “If you visit the DSEK office on strike or curfew days, you won’t find more than 10 percent staff there. So it is dead impossible that 90 percent schools would function during the declared curfews,” they said. “If you take our assessment into consideration, we believe not more than 30 percent schools would be functional.”
Peerzada, who is understood to be on a statement and circular spree for the past two months, had Thursday said, “Students living in Srinagar city and some main towns of the Valley have suffered academic losses. However, 90 per cent schools are functioning in all villages,” Peerzada said.
A source in the CID said during curfews, just 10 to 15 percent schools in Valley happen to be functional while hardly a school in Srinagar is seen open. “Sometimes the figures go up during hartals, but when it is curfew, it is not possible for teachers and students to attend schools,” the source said. “In villages, not more than 30 percent schools would be functional. It has been two months of rage and killings in Kashmir, so I doubt 90 percent schools would be functional.”
Students and teachers have questioned the minister’s assessment. “On one hand the minister says that syllabus in 90 percent schools is complete, but on the other, he calls for extra classes to compensate the loss. It is a contradiction of sorts,” said Shazan, a student of class 10th. “We are yet to complete 40 percent syllabus since the academic session began. And it is not the question of Srinagar or towns. The entire Valley has been reeling under declared curfew for the past two months. So how do schools function?”
Meanwhile, the students and teachers have expressed anguish over the single-paper scheme for class 12th from this academic session.
Sources said the Board of School Education received hundreds of calls from teachers and students who expressed their resentment over the “arbitrary decision.”
A BOSE official said the decision was taken “under pressure” from the government. “This time the BOSE didn’t consult the stakeholders while taking this major decision. It concerns the students’ future. So they should have been first consulted,” the official said.
In March 2010, then the single-paper scheme for class 10th was finalized, students, teachers, examiners and evaluators were consulted. “But this time the BOSE took an arbitrary decision much to the disappointment of students who have already suffered immensely,” said a school principal.
The Plus-Two Lecturers Forum president, Muhammad Usman, has already described the decision as “grave injustice with students.”
The secretary, School Education, GA Peer and Director, School Education, Shagufta Parveen could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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