Lift restrictions on education in Kashmir!
The frequent Internet blockade in Kashmir has become an uncertain inconvenience for the students, and apparently the government sponsored shutdown of educational institutions is now just another trouble for them. Everytime a civilian or militant killing takes place in any part of the valley, the government orders the closing down of schools, colleges and universities.
2016 proved to be the worst year for the education sector in Kashmir, during this year, all educational institutions remained closed for a long period of time in the wake of unrest and then the board exams were conducted at the end of the year with fifty percent syllabus relaxation.
The Government-imposed restrictions always affect the functioning of schools and colleges in Downtown area of Srinagar; besides, these restrictions make it difficult for the local students to reach the Kashmir University campus as they are often turned back by the government forces — this is a common concern for every parent in Downtown.
Being wary of the 2017 student protests, the authorities are ordering closure of schools, colleges and universities as well as postponement of university exams which is resulting in disruption of academic activities in these educational institutions. Last year, the students of Government Degree college Pulwama got into a confrontation with the army during which many students were arrested and several others got injured in the forces action following which the authorities ordered the closing down of the schools and colleges in most parts of valley.
The government justifies the closing down of educational institutions by terming it a ‘precautionary measure’ and with this approach the government tries to cool down the tension. Should we let the political turmoil in Kashmir to affect the education? The answer is no. No prudent society will allow it to happen. Can we afford educationless generations. The answer is again no. Disrupting the functioning of education institutions by aurthorities is an apathy and this way they are ruining the future of students in Kashmir.
The education department, previous year, came up with a plan to offset any loss of academic activities due to the prevailing law and order issues in Kashmir. The plan was to keep the schools open during holidays; furthermore, the education department maintained that it will improve the standard of education and attendance of students. Education department should put the plan to work again as 2018 may be no different from 2017 in terms of law and order situation.
Given the callous approach of government towards the student community in Kashnir, it is least expected that the government will let the educational institutions function normally. If the authorities are having any interest in the upliptment of education sector in Kashmir, they should practically prove it by taking certain measures that will ensure hassle free educational activities in Kashmir. Students tend to lose the interest in their studies due to the frequent suspension of classwork and it also disrupts their academic calendar. I will conclude here, by hoping that the restrictions on the education are lifted henceforth. If we want to secure the future of our young generation then we should ensure a peaceful learning environment for them.
Abrar Reyaz is a student of Law at Department of Legal Studies, Central University of Kashmir and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org