Victims of a situation

Education sector in Jammu and Kashmir has remained in news for one or other reason. People, who have ruled the state, during all these years have just made tall claims but on the ground they failed to deliver.

The government has employed an army of teachers in schools run by the state but it’s an established fact that private schools perform much better than the government institutions.

The government teachers get more wages than the teachers working in private schools and are well qualified than their counterparts but still students don’t come to the expectations. Then why can’t government schools complete with private institutions? This is a million dollar question, which people at the helm should answer.

There is a perception that the government run schools have been politicized during the past three decades and much attention has not been paid towards setting the basics rights. Even today many schools across the state run from rented buildings. Children are made to sit in dingy rooms on the name of classrooms. There are no proper washrooms and other facilities. What a pity!

Schooling plays an important role in developing the mind of children. People, who have ruled the state in the past, need to ask themselves why they couldn’t develop the educational institutions? Why didn’t they realize that education sector deserves all the attention? Had rulers spared sometime and worked towards improving this sector, today our children would have been at the top of the world.

It has been observed that government and public sector employees keep their children away from the government schools and prefer to send them to private institutions. Our children are our future and they have to be kept in safe hands to ensure that they excel in their lives and become role models for others.

During the PDP led regime in Jammu and Kashmir, state witnessed one of the worst confrontations between the teachers and the government. Soon after the PDP took over the reins of the state the “dictatorial attitude” of the then education minister forced teachers to hit the streets and stage protests against the arbitrary orders which were passed by the then education minister.

The then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was so fed up with the then education minister that she changed his portfolio to pacify the teachers’ community, which was up in arms against the state. Politicization of the education department has played havoc with the system.

During NC-Congress regime led by Omar Abdullah the then education minister and senior Congress leader Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed had to tender his resignation after an exam scandal involving his foster son came to fore. There have been many instances in the past which have put a question mark over the functioning of the education department in Jammu and Kashmir.

During the past few years Government of India has pumped in huge money into this sector by starting various schemes but unfortunately the lackadaisical attitude of the successive regimes has not allowed this sector to grow.

In rural areas, education of children is entirely dependent upon the government schools. In these areas private sector has grown but not to that extent. Children in far-flung areas are still dependent on the schools which are run by the government.

In many rural areas even the literacy rate is not that high and the parents too are unaware about the rights of their children. They remain content with whatever their wards are taught in government schools.

They don’t even ask questions. Every parent wants his children to do something in their lives. Proper guidance at right age is important for the development of young children. But in rural areas of J&K, children find it very difficult to get proper guidance at the right age.

A lot needs to be done to improve education sector in Jammu and Kashmir and mere promises won’t help. Words have to be translated into actions to save the future of our generations next.

They deserve our care and attention. It’s unfortunate that J&K is lagging far behind in the education sector. We cannot just turn a blind eye and wait for Godot to come and set the things right.

At present Jammu and Kashmir is directly under President’s rule and the people at the helm have no political considerations. The Governor’s administration should pay attention towards this vital sector and make an attempt to set things right.

(The writer is former journalist and member of JK Youth Alliance)