Hard Times, Hard Lessons
Protests coupled with strikes and curfew in the Kashmir Valley have hit the students hard with schools contemplating extra classes and opting for e-lectures to make up for the loss.
The Jammu and Kashmir Education Department is planning to compensate for the loss by extra and special classes. Some schools are also opting for e-lectures that are distributed to the students through Internet.
"I have directed the concerned to organise special and extra classes to complete the loss of the academic session. The students should in their own interests attend the school regularly and devote their time for studies so that they are able to complete their syllabus and compete with others," Minister for Education and Public Enterprises, Peerzada Mohammad Syeed said.
Notices by many schools in the local dailies here ask the students to complete some part of the syllabus at home and consult the subject teacher for help, if accessible.
Principal of Delhi Public School, Kashmir, K K Sharma noted that students have suffered a lot in the last one month when schools remained closed for 20 days.
He said the school, however, is doing its best to compensate for the loss and keep the students right on track with e-lectures distributed to them frequently.
"Students are suffering a lot, particularly the ones who have to appear in board exams. We are frequently providing them with electronic lectures and home assignments so that they remain in touch with studies," he said.
Sanaa, a Class XI student studying in DPS said, "Our school has started web classes which I guess are a good way to cope with the situation but not everyone has a computer or Internet connection at home."
Image: Students at a government-run school in Jammu
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters
Hard Times, Hard Lessons
A similar scenario prevailed in the Valley during the 2008 Amarnath land row agitation sparked by a government order to transfer about 40 hectares of forest land to the shrine board. The order was later revoked on July 1. Schools and colleges remained closed for almost two months then.
"We will try to compensate like we did during the Amarnath land row in 2008. It was a two-month strike. If need be, we will take extra classes by the cooperation from both the teachers as well as the students," Secretary School Education, G A Pir said.
Following the killing of 17-year-old Tufail Ahmad Mattoo allegedly by security forces on June 11, the Valley witnessed a series of strikes, demonstrations and later curfew was clamped which disrupted normal life.
Nuzhat Fatima, a chemistry lecturer at the Government Girls' Higher Secondary school, Bandipore said, "Class XII students have a lot of syllabus which is difficult to complete if the spate of curfew and hartals continues. Term exams for the Class XI have been postponed. When would they take the Term 1 and when would the Term 2 exams be taken."
"After a winter break of about two-and-a-half months, the schools were closed and reopened a couple of times, considering the long winter season this year. This followed by the teachers strikes, employees strikes, official holidays and hartals disturbed the entire schedule of students," a parent of a student studying in Presentation Convent school said.
"I am not able to concentrate on studies due to the frequent breaks. I am worried that I wouldn't get time to complete my syllabus of the next semester," Naureen Farooq, a student of journalism in Islamic University said.
"Such a long period of strikes is frustrating.We joined in April and studied for two months...June and July is almost negligible," Fatima, a Class X student, said. With some schools following the CBSE pattern of education rather than Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education, the students of such schools seem to be more apprehensive.
"Being CBSE students we are bound to suffer because the state board may reduce the syllabus seeing the situation around but we cannot expect such a relaxation," a student of Delhi Public School said.
Image: Another view from a Jammu school.