Winter schooling triggers chaos
Govt Silent As Confusion Mounts
Srinagar, Dec 10: The Jammu and Kashmir government’s much-hyped “winter schooling” move has begun to show the “adverse results” before its implementation on the ground.
To begin with, the move has resulted in a simmering discontent among the teaching fraternity, which accuse the state government of being “discriminatory” in its guidelines vis-à-vis winter schooling. Besides, it has triggered sharp differences within teachers which, according to observers, is not good for academic health of the institutions.
As per the government directives, all the schools from 1st to class 8th shall go for usual winter vacations from December 15 while those from 9th to 12th shall remain open till further orders.
Apart from confusion, the missive has triggered differences within the teachers who teach up to 8th standard and those at high and higher secondary levels. “Why should one group of teachers, who teaches up to middle level, go for vacations and the other, teaching classes 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th attend schools?” asked headmaster of a government school, insisting not to be named. “We as heads of the institutions are facing the wrath of teachers who accuse us of being biased in our approach. There are teachers who don’t want to teach 9th and 10th classes now because of the winter schooling move.
And those teaching up to 8th don’t want their time-table and class allotment to be shifted.”
The winter schooling, according to teachers, has become a bone of contention in the schools. “Either the state government must come up with a roaster seeking the participation of all the teachers in winter schooling or it must call off the proposed initiative to avoid any conflict in the schools,” said Maimoona, a middle-school teacher in Srinagar. “The government has failed to come up with concrete guidelines for teachers. If it is freezing chill outside, it is for one and all. Why should one teacher be asked to stay in school while the other allowed enjoying at home? The move has vitiated atmosphere in schools and the government is solely responsible for it.”
Observers fear that in the absence of proper guidelines, the proposal might create division among the teachers. “This shall ultimately affect the student community. A couple of meetings, chaired by the Minister for Education, were held with regard to winter schooling. But none of the officials there came up with suggestions on how the move can be effectively implemented on ground. Being on certain key positions, they all tried to appease the minister by agreeing to the proposal,” said a senior official in the Directorate of School Education Kashmir, who has been privy to the deliberations in the meetings.
He said the participants only beat the drum that children should not have any problem in going for winter schooling if they go for tuitions amid chill. “But the point is that they ignored the fundamental assertion that winter in Kashmir happens to be extremely harsh and that such a proposal would trigger differences within the teaching community, which is not a good sign,” the official said. “So far the government has not come up with a single document with regard to the winter schooling. They are just making announcements and taking credit for something which is flawed to the core. The move defies logic in the sense that students have to read what they have already read and written in the exams. Being the Head of the State, the Chief Minister must review the entire exercise so that the students and teachers are not put to inconvenience for nothing.”
While the government has assured heating facilities in schools, official sources disclosed to Greater Kashmir that “no extraordinary arrangements” were being made. “It is just that coal Bukharis (heaters) will be put in place in schools, notwithstanding their ill-effects on the health of children,” they said.
According to J&K Plus-Two Lecturers Forum, the winter schooling move was flawed in some respects. “We are not against the move per se. But the government must first make certain amends in this. First, it must utilize the services of teachers teaching from primary to middle in conducting of the Board Examinations (private) which are normally conducted by the secondary or higher secondary level teachers. This would save the move from being hit on ground. If you use secondary or higher secondary level teachers for evaluation and conducting of examinations, the winter schooling will naturally be a hoax,” said the Forum president, Muhammad Usman Malik.
He said given the qualification of primary and middle school teachers, it should not be difficult for the Board to engage them in evaluation and conducting of examinations. “10,000 to 15,000 teachers are required for holding the examinations. There are hundreds of teachers who are postgraduates with BEd and MEd. They can do the evaluation against cash in lieu policy. That would not affect winter schooling. Otherwise the initiative is flawed,” Usman told Greater Kashmir.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 10 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 10 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 11 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST
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