Saving the Gen-next

Educate them and that is the only way we can save their future

Mohammad Ilyas
Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 17 2018 11:08PM | Updated Date: Sep 17 2018 11:08PM
Saving the Gen-nextRepresentational Pic

Looking at Kashmir today, any sensible person feels disheartened and even horrified to see the kind of violent acts being committed by man against man and nature. It is sad to realize that we live in an era of unprecedented violence in the forms of war, crimes, injustice and oppression and exploitation amidst a seemingly outward development enjoyed by a few. The saddest part of the story is that this state of disorder and confusion in the Kashmiri society is affecting the children's innocent minds, their life being disturbed by these acts of atrocities which will mark their future. Children naturally absorb the spirit of violence in the atmosphere and will soon grow to be the next generation of perpetuators of violence. Therefore the need to nurture peace in the hearts of children has arisen as urgent issues to be addressed. In the present world one of the most formidable obstacles to education and development is considered to be armed conflict. Whenever conflict erupts it spilled over to the society and the school and education also falls under its grip. Many reports were documented affecting the education and the schools being attacked. The situation made students not able to access education and the quality of education being deteriorated. Despite this, protecting education has not been considered as the priority. The existing measures to support universal primary education (UPE) and to achieve the Education Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are not reaching children living in the conflict affected areas, and for these children their Rights to Education are being denied. 

Reforming the education system is a tough nut to crack, anywhere. In troubled Jammu and Kashmir, it can be a little like climbing a slippery mountain while it rains. The impact of almost three decades old conflict on Kashmiri society has proved deeper, wider and has engulfed the totality of social dynamics. In actuality, every sector and every section of the Kashmiri society suffer in totality at the individual as well as group level. Education is the major causality as a result of the conflict. The major cause leading to the decreasing working days are incidents of violence and crumbling of the entire system of governance. Armed conflict in the Kashmir valley has affected the access to education and directly or indirectly targeted the schools. Millions of children are denied their right to education as their schools are destroyed or it is simply too dangerous to go to school. The Reports from the UN bodies has highlighted some of the barriers to education during conflict such as poverty, displacement, gender discrimination, not enough schools, and lack of teachers. 

Besides, insufficient funding is another obstacle to education in the conflict hit zones. Realizing the Millennium Development Goal 2- that all children get a full course of primary schooling by 2015, there is an urgent need to address the issues of education for the children living in the conflict hit zones. 

Attacks on the lives of students and the teachers disrupts the provision of education, access to education and the quality of education in a number of ways such as pupil and staff stay at home because of the fear of further attacks, physical removal by abduction, detention or disappearance prevents teachers and students from going to educational institutions, psychological trauma, fear and stress hinder the teaching and learning thus affecting attention, motivation and attendance of both teachers and the taught.

The pernicious situation in this valley of sorrows has also had additional impacts on girl’s education, which has had a negative effect on the efforts of both governmental and non-governmental organizations to improve access to education for girls. Numerous reasons become hurdles, of which everyone is well aware about leads to further rise in dropout among girls.

Three components are Security, Buildings and Teachers, all are impacted by this state of turbulence. These barriers have affected the demand and supply of the education. Attacks on the buildings dedicated to education are not just attacks on buildings. It’s an attack on our right to education, as these attacks force children to drop out of the institutions. What we witness ia a reduced enrollment, lower rate of transition to higher education and poorer educational outcomes (Human Rights Watch, 2011).

Education in the Kashmir has remained the major casualty, schools stands gutted, classes are frequently disrupted, teachers run away or absconding, examination are never on time, teaching learning is almost absent, and the reason behind all these happening is the continuous protests, curfews, shutdown, search operations, untimely suspension of internet facilities, lack of information regarding education have taken a toll on valleys education system, forcing large number of students to shift to Jammu and even sometimes outside the state to continue their studies. The education system has crumbled due to strikes and curfews, forcing government to issue a circular asking educational institution to hold extra classes to cover the loss, but unfortunately this never happened because of the less number of working days. Further disruptions in acquiring education have also been exacerbated by syllabus curtailment, mass copying, lenient marking and lack of teacher accountability – all linked to the prolonged shutdowns. 

The state of education in Kashmir, due to the decades of conflict, is in a state of dismay. As a recommendations there is a need to increase educational opportunities for the poorest and the most disadvantaged children in the valley, focus on teachers and the teaching quality, increase the relevance and the purposefulness of education, protect education from attack, address the increasing threat of emergencies, increase the financing of education in the conflict ridden state. Schools need be reestablished as quickly as possible, reconstruction should not be only replacing the physical infrastructure of schools, it must include opportunities for rebuilding human relations and inclusive education system. 


(The Author is Research Scholar at NIEPA New Delhi)


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