Srinagar, Nov 19: The abrupt onset of cold weather in Kashmir has made existing school problems worse as children are experiencing discomfort due to inadequate infrastructure in schools amid the prevailing cold period.
Over the past few days, the temperature at various places across Kashmir has plummeted below normal, leaving school children grappling with the bitter cold.
Despite the challenging conditions, the government has yet to announce any plans for winter vacations for school children particularly the lower classes, raising concern among the parents and other stakeholders alike.
As the mercury continues to dip, schools are facing a pressing issue with insufficient heating facilities, leaving classrooms and common areas unpleasantly cold.
Complaints are pouring in from all districts that school children are shivering in their classrooms, with students of more than one class crammed in one classroom due to the dearth of the adequate infrastructure in schools.
Parents are expressing growing frustration with the lack of action from authorities, emphasising the adverse impact on their children’s well-being and ability to focus on studies.
“The Director School Education Kashmir recently made a statement that they need to complete 220 academic days of the session. But it seems that he is not aware of the ground situation. The students are shivering in schools,” said Iqbal Ahmad Najar, a parent from Baramulla whose kids are enrolled in a government school.
“During the enrollment drive, the department claimed to provide best facilities to children in schools but the real situation is contrary to those claims. Our children are suffering,” he said.
Concerns have been raised regarding the potential health risks associated with prolonged exposure to low temperatures within school premises.
Kashmir is witnessing a significant surge in flu cases, with hospitals and medical facilities reporting an increase in patients seeking treatment.
The move has left the parents perplexed as no precautionary measures are being taken at schools to safeguard the school children.
As per routine, the School Education Department (SED) announces winter vacation for school children in a phased manner from December.
Last year, the SED announced winter vacation for all government and private recognised schools of Kashmir and winter zones of Jammu division in three phases from December 1, 2022, to February 28, 2023.
Winter vacation for students up to class 5th was announced from December 1 followed by 6th to 8th class students from December 12 for students from 9th to 12th from December 19, 2022.
“But this year, the valley has witnessed abrupt change in weather and it is really challenging for small kids to move out in the morning for school. The government should announce winter vacation for pre primary classes,” said Imtiyaz Lone, a parent from Sopore.
While the situation demands urgent attention amid the biting cold coupled with the lack of infrastructure in schools, the government is yet to outline any plans to provide relief for the students.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Rajiv Rai Batnagar told Greater Kashmir that he had not yet received any such proposal for announcement of winter vacations.
“I did not receive any proposal from the Education Department. I will check it with the department and see what can be done,” Batnagar said about the challenges faced by the students in schools in the biting cold amid lack of infrastructure in schools.