Authorities in central Kashmir’s Budgam district have put teachers and students along with parents at over a dozen schools spread across several villages at undue inconvenience by including them in a far away education zone bypassing two nearby zones through a “politically motivated” demarcation, teachers said.
Dubbing it as a “thoughtless move”, they said that it has also caused the dearth of teachers at many schools in the cluster, they alleged.
Several teachers posted at the government schools in Watakuloo education cluster of Chadoora tehsil told Greater Kashmir that around fifteen schools there had been affiliated with Charar-i-Sharif education zone, some 30 odd kilometres away from the nearest Watkuloo village, instead of the nearby Nagam and Chadoora education zones.
The zonal allotment, they said, had been carried out on the basis of an “ill-advised and politically motivated” demarcation some time back wherein the clusters adjacent to Watkuloo were affiliated with Nagam education zone, but Watkuloo, despite its proximity to the zone, was surprisingly excluded.
The schools in Watkuloo education cluster are spread across several villages in the area including Kanikoot, Ledan, Pot Ledan, Bajipathri, Hulari, Chan Mohalla, Wudr Mohalla, Doba and Kralgam besides others.
“You can imagine how terribly the demarcation has gone wrong as Loolipora village has been included in Nagam education zone, but Watkuloo, which is across a bridge from the village, has been kept with far away Charar-i-Sharif zone,” said a local teacher, Naveed Ahmad Khanday.
The teachers complained the “ill-advised” allotment of the zones had subjected the local populace especially teachers and students in the cluster to an undue inconvenience. “To get an ordinary document processed, we have to first travel all the way to Chadoora and then take a cab to Chrar-i-Sharif which adds up some thirty-odd kilometres even as Chadoora and Nagam zones are on the way,” Naveed said.
He said that they had to spend an entire day every time they need to visit the zonal office even for minor issues which at times adversely affects the academic work at the respective schools.
Another teacher, Ashiq Hussain, seconded Naveed saying the authorities had subjected them to an unnecessary inconvenience by including them into a far away zone instead of the ones in their proximity. “Had we been affiliated with Nagam zone, we would be easily able to finish the work and also attend our classes on our way back,” said Hussain.
The teachers further alleged that the zonal affiliation had also resulted in the dearth of teachers at many schools in the Watkuloo cluster.
They said that several teachers posted at such schools hailing from Chrar-i-Sharif had managed to transfer themselves elsewhere over the years leaving the respective parent schools high and dry.
“It looks like that we had been included in Chrar-i-Sharif zone merely to create posts for the local residents of the town through a politically motivated move,” alleged a teacher.
He said they could not even have teachers from neighboring villages, which are included in Nagam zone as there is no provision for inter-zonal transfer of teachers in their case.
“Had we been affiliated with Nagam zone, the teachers from neighboring villages could have been posted at the affected schools,” he added.
When contacted, Chief Education Officer Budgam, Syed Mohammad Ameen asked the locals to approach his office with a representation. This, he said, would be forwarded to the higher-ups in the School Education Department.