Akeel Rashid

Crisis of Educational Sector: Conflict-driven or administrative blunder

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It is not news anymore – for the student community in particular – that Education sector of Kashmir is in deep crisis and in order to provoke a much-needed debate over the issue, I’d start from discussing two facets of it: first, the ongoing conflict in Kashmir is impacting the functioning of the educational sector and second, the ill-conceived policies/do it alone approach of the government has landed the education sector in grave crisis.

The first aspect, arguably, is exploited by the educational authorities to cover up their blunders when it comes to debating the downsides of the Educational sector of Kashmir and this shadow aspect has eventually made its inroads into the minds of common people who have stopped to except more than what the educational sector already offers to their children.

My first endeavour is to disprove the first aspect, the ongoing conflict in Kashmir is impacting the functioning of the educational sector, with regard to the crisis in the education sector. So here's it: Kashmir conflict is undoubtedly impacting the functioning of educational activities, but it cannot be held responsible for impacting the overall functioning of the educational sector. Delayed degrees, exams, results and unconsulted examination datasheets are some of the issues which are not to be blamed on the conflict, but all of these issues flow from the incompetence of policymakers.  Technically, Kashmir is facing a low-intensity conflict, and saying so is matter of perspective, and I will regard this fact in the following context:  The Education sector of Kashmir is not directly engaged with the ongoing conflict that is to say we have not witnessed any direct attack on the education or its infrastructure in Kashmir.

Read Also: Lets settle the issue of education within the Kashmir issue

Now coming to the second aspect, the ill-conceived policies/do-it-alone approach of the government has landed the education sector in grave crisis, that demands confirmation and therefore a discussion. Students have no visible stake in the education policymaking as a result they are never consulted while framing and implementing the vital policies which ultimately affect the students. I am challenging the senior officials of the education department, who are framing policies behind closed doors, to prove that they have ever consulted the students and sought their suggestions and inputs while framing a particular policy.

More to the point, from last few days, the students of the secondary-class are opposing the exam date sheet issued by the Directorate of School Education (DSEK) which they say goes against their interests. The authorities have failed to come up with any clarification regarding the grievances of the students which implies that DSEK is considering the issue as being partial, but it does not matter as to how many students are opposing a decision imposed by the authorities and even if the opposition comes from one single student, he ought to be heard.

Read Also: Student protests: What to do?

Those who are claiming to be the reformers of the education sector in Kashmir should feel shame over the ongoing crisis in the education sector. It really hurts me when I see the uniform-clad students hitting the streets for highlighting an issue, which is supposed to be negotiated in their classrooms, and then the kind of treatment meted out to them is even more hurtful to witness. Instead of feeding them with a sense of achievement, the young students are being left with a sense of defeat. I would suggest the officials of the education department to take-off their ties and also shun their professional pride if they want to solve the crisis of the education sector in Kashmir.

  • Author can be reached at akeelsofi@gmail.com

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