Winter schooling move draws flak
Educationists Surprised, Parents Wary
MUDDASIR ALI/WASIM KHALID
Srinagar, Nov 23: The state government’s move to continue with schooling during winters for “clearing of the academic concepts” of the students about their previous year’s syllabi for which they have already sat in the examinations has drawn flak from different quarters.
Though the government asserts that the new mantra was aimed at “compensating” the losses suffered by students because of the summer agitation, educationists terms it as an “impulsive response” by the government while parents expressed worry in view of the chilly winter which has already started to set in.
On Monday minister for School Education, Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed stirred the hornet’s nest when he declared that the government has decided to continue with the class work for the students of secondary and higher secondary schools during winter.
He told media that students of 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th standards will be taught the syllabus of the earlier academic year which they could not complete due to the summer unrest in the Valley.
“It is just thoughtless response on part of the government. The extent of the academic damage has not been assessed and on the contrary students have already taken the examinations. Even if the school authorities want to have a dialogue with students, I don’t feel this is the season in which they can do it. Even teachers are not prepared,” said noted educationist, Prof AG Madhosh.
However, the Director School Education, Shagufta Parveen argued that there would be a capsule course for the students to clarify the different concepts in the syllabus which they had not studied because of the agitation.
“The problem is in the Srinagar city and towns where more than 20 percent of the syllabus was not completed due to unrest,” she said. “The government’s move should be appreciated.”
But Prof Madhosh has a point. “The winters are always harsh here. If the move has more to do with the accountability of the state government before government of India vis-a-vis funds allocation for the sector then this logic (winter schooling) can be developed, otherwise I don’t see the move helping students, who need congenial atmosphere for studies, in any way.”
All the schools in the Valley remained closed for more than three months due to unrest resulting from killing of 111 civilians in police and CRPF action.
Prof Madhosh said no doubt any movement can be progressive. “But the targets and goals have to be set in first. If this move is aimed at changing mode of operation to coaching programs which is purely examination centric then it could help otherwise it seems unplanned at present,” he said.
Besides, there are other challenges for the government to make the move a success.
‘Lack of proper infrastructure’
Recently the Jammu and Kashmir Teachers’ Forum said the government was turning a “Nelson’s eye” to the pathetic condition of school buildings.
The forum said most of the government high schools, especially in Srinagar, not to talk of villages and rural areas are in dilapidated conditions.
“There are no windowpanes, windows, even no roofs or doors in some schools,” said the forum. “Leave aside benches there are not even straw mats on floors for the students.”
The forum said there are many schools where there is no arrangement of electricity.
During the winter schooling the government is expected to spend Rs 6 crore for the tuition purposes. There would be 2.7 lakh students to be schooled in 870 centers.
“This six crore rupees would be spent alone on repairing schools. Still the amount is too meagre for overhauling schools” said a forum member.
The parents too are confused over the government decision.
“My child had appeared in 9th class examination. He has completed his syllabus at home during the five months of unrest,” Muhammad Ramzan, whose son studies in a government school in Pulwama area, said. “It’s beyond my comprehension what they would compensate”.
Abdul Qadir, a resident of hilly Branwar area in central Kashmir’s Budgam district said it’s impossible for students to battle cold in schools without any heating facility there.
“You assess the achievement of government schools in past five years,” fumed a parent. “They have done no extraordinary work in terms of child education except for being a burden on exchequer”.
The winter which has already started to set in would be another challenge. Director Meteorology, Sonam Lotus told Greater Kashmir winters would be comparably colder this time.
“A weather phenomenon called La Lina is developing in the south pacific,” Lotus said. “Due to prevailing La Lina conditions it’s expected that winters in Kashmir would be harsh compared to past two years.”
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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