Govt remembers school Chalo obligation
CM, Minister, Police Wake Up To Educational Mess
Srinagar, Sept 25: A day after the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, asserted that he would review his ‘protest calendar’ in the light of upcoming examinations, the Jammu and Kashmir government Saturday woke up to the “educational mess” in the Valley.
As if the 107-day continued shutdowns and curfews had not affected the schooling at all, the government painted a rosy picture of the functioning of educational institutions in the Valley, asserting that it was concerned about the future of the students.
Unusually, the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, today himself chaired a high-level meeting with regard to academic loss faced by the students in the past four months of unrest in the Valley. “The government is committed to functioning of the educational institutions because our children are at the risk of losing a year of their career, a year which no one can return to them. So all need to work together towards restoration of normal education,” an official handout quoted Omar saying.
Omar appealed to the civil society to rise to the occasion and work together with the state government to ensure that the students’ education and their future were not affected. “All endeavours should be made to conduct the examinations as per schedule so that precious academic year of our bright students is not wasted,” Omar said. He said education should be made conflict-neutral.
Apart from Omar, the Education Minister, Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed too remembered the education sector, asserting that he would address a press conference on Sunday.
In a bizarre situation of its kind, the Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating reopening of schools amid curfew from September 27 (Monday). It has, through police, assured that school buses shall be allowed to move, but has maintained a silence over how the teachers and students of the government-run schools would be able to reach the educational institutions.
In the first place, while it is the civil administration that is normally supposed to issue official handouts with regard to the issue, the job is done by police, which Saturday issued a press release saying the schools will remain open on Monday despite restrictions. “School buses carrying teaching/non teaching staff will be allowed to move on the day. Identity cards of teaching/non teaching staff will be treated as curfew passes,” the press release mentioned. Surprisingly, it said that parents can also accompany their wards.
While children studying in government schools don’t travel in school buses as they don’t have any, the private schools, most of which own their buses, are wary of children’s safety during the curfew.
“The question is how you can drag children to schools amid curfew. Either you should lift the restrictions or don’t put children to trouble. It is the question of their safety,” said principal of a prominent private school here.
An important question that stares right in the face of the state government is how teachers would be able to reach the educational institutions in absence of curfew passes and the transport facility.
Official sources said a majority of government teachers have been posted far from their residences. “There are scores of teachers who live in old city but teach in areas like HMT, Ganderbal etc. can they reach there amid curfew?” they asked.
Similarly, they said, scores of teachers have to reach from one district to another while attending their duties. “Government schools don’t own their buses. Some teachers who live at Srinagar teach in Varmul schools. You have to think of them also. By issuing nonsense press releases, the government is making a mockery of itself,” said Muhammad Shafi (name changed), a middle-school teacher from Varmul.
Academics question the move to ask parents to accompany their wards. “Why should they? It means that the government wants to shift the blame on parents if anything untoward happen to children. The state administration is making a fool of itself by ignoring the ground realities. There is a stringent curfew in place where not even journalists and medicos are allowed to their places of work. In such a situation, how can teachers reach the schools,” said Zahoor Shafi, a parent.
FEWER WORKING DAYS
Why is the state government so particular about the opening of schools even amid curfew? The question has triggered suspense among the stakeholders.
While the academic session is likely to end and examinations about to begin, the student and teaching fraternity questions how the government can save the “career” of students. “When the state government had to think about the student, it failed to fulfil its obligation toward the students and teachers that time. Now when the session is about to end, why is government so particular about the future of students?” asked a group of teachers, insisting not to be named. “Earlier the government failed to ensure that schools remain open. Now it is just trying to save its face by painting that it was concerned about the future of the students. That is ludicrous. Curfew is even enforced on the days when Hurriyat keeps it open. That speaks volumes about the system failure in the state.”
Interestingly, this year the schools have remained functional for a small period of time. Before the current unrest, the months-long strike by government employees affected their functioning.
When contacted, the Director School Education, Shagufta Parveen admitted that teachers won’t be able to reach the schools in absence of transport facility. “But I am sure the government must have thought something about that. I guess the transport facility has been put in place for the teachers as well,” she told Greater Kashmir.
WHAT GEELANI SAID
Geelani had Friday said: “I want to maintain that the role of students in our movement is appreciable. I am concerned over the examinations of the students and don’t want that their one academic year should go waste.”
Elaborating, Geelani had said he was in touch with the students and parents. “The fresh protest calendar will be issued on Sunday according to the examinations date sheet,” he had said.
GEELANI REVIEWS CALENDAR
The Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, Saturday didn’t review the protest calendar in the light of examination calendars, taking the state government by surprise.
“It is a matter of concern but we will anyway go ahead with the reopening of schools,” said a cabinet minister, wishing anonymity.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 25 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 25 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, Sept 25: The Government yet again imposed curfew on Saturday to counter Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s call for a normal day. The restrictions were however eased in the city for the later half of the More