Students tell minister: Take us on board while making policies

Edu deptt has 30 percent dearth of staff, says Altaf Bukhari

Syed Rizwan Geelani
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 22 2017 11:45PM | Updated Date: Aug 22 2017 11:45PM
Students tell minister: Take us on board while making policiesGK Photo

A defective education policy, shortage of staff and flawed subject combinations. These are some of the issues plaguing the education system, students told education minister Altaf Bukhari during an interactive session, “Express Yourself”, at the Kothi Bagh Girls Higher Secondary School.

A girl told the minister that students are never consulted about “how we want to study” when authorities frame policies.

“Also, there are limited options available for students while choosing their subject stream at the higher secondary level,” she said.

The minister admitted that students had no say in policy matters.

“We will try to have students’ council cell and counselors who will be involved in everything in schools be it academic matters or deciding about what school should have,” Bukhari said.

He also acknowledged that the education department faced a shortage of about 30 percent staff in schools.

“For 11th and 12th classes we need highly qualified teachers which are not available in the department,” he said.

He, however, admitted that teachers don’t come to classrooms prepared. 

“Teachers forget to prepare their lessons they have to teach in classrooms,” he said.

At the same time, Bukhari said teachers, students and other staff in the education department were underappreciated.

“The system has to change,” he said.

About the complaints regarding flawed evaluation system in Board of School Education (BOSE), the minister said the evaluation of papers has become a “commercial thing”, which has marred the sanctity of the institution.

“I believe and I agree as a parent that BOSE adopts callous approach in evaluation of papers and then ask students to go for reevaluation because they earn revenue from the process. I have taken a serious note of this issue and the BOSE has to address it,” Bukhari said.

About his directive that students having below 90 percent attendance won’t be allowed to appear in annual exams, he said, “We (students) got little time to study in 2016 (because of the unrest) but the government later decided to hold exams, which had two aspects. One was that academic year would be lost and the second was that the government wanted to show its might. But the circumstances then demanded that we must save the academic year,” the minister said.

“I see that the decision was correct as we had to save the academic year but if it were me, I would have never agreed (to holding exams) because if you don’t gain knowledge then there is no idea of sending students to higher classes.”

During the interaction the students also raised concern over the “poor quality books with outdated content”. Bukhari told them that the matter will be discussed with experts.

The students opened up during the interaction and said the department should take concrete steps to address genuine problems faced by them.

“We are 400 commerce students at Jawahar Nagar Higher Secondary School but the department has provided us only one lecturer,” said Wasif, a commerce student.

“I joined Mujgund Higher Secondary in class 9 and our school was without a principal for two years,” said another student.

The education minister admitted the loopholes and stated that the issues will be addressed in near future.

“I know my schools lack teachers, infrastructure and subjects availability but give me six months I will address all these issues,” Bukhari said.