Opinion: Closing schools, colleges no solution
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Opinion: Closing schools, colleges no solution

 

Opinion: Closing schools, colleges no solution

Published on :10 Jun,2017

Sponsored by : Nexa Peaks Auto




Srinagar:

Students staging protests and the frequent closure of higher secondary schools and colleges in Kashmir has become an order of the day since April 15, 2017, when government force personnel barged inside Government Degree College Pulwama in south Kashmir and beat up the students.

After the Pulwama incident students hit the streets to express solidarity with their counterparts in Puwlama but they too also met the same fate and were thrashed for raising their voice. In the initial days student protests had taken an ugly turn and closing down the educational institutions seemed to be the only option.

However, for the past two months the government has been closing the schools frequently and has been following the “closure calendar” religiously. This has a created an impression that all the students are on the streets and none of the educational institutions are functioning smoothly. The people at the helm have failed to answer a vital question i.e. what is the percentage of the students involved in protests? Is it that all the students across Kashmir are out on the streets?

Kashmir’s highest seat of learning University of Kashmir despite having maximum number of the students has faced all the odds and KU administration seems to have bit the bullet by keeping the varsity open and by allowing the normal class work to take place. On the other hand small educational institutions have remained closed and students have not been able to attend their schools and colleges regularly.

It’s unfortunate that instead of facing the situation the people at the helm have taken escape route. What’s more surprising that authorities have failed to keep the students confined within their campuses. In 2016 the mainstream politicians left no stone unturned to take potshots at the separatists for what they called “ruining the careers” of the students. This time around someone needs to ask these people, who is playing with the career of the students, the government or the separatists?

It’s strange that on the basis of mere one input that students may stage protests, the administration orders closure of the educational institutions. The people at the helm should sit and conduct a thorough introspection and try to ascertain where the things are going wrong.

It has been observed that law enforcing agencies after identifying the students involved in the protests have acted tough with them. On many occasions students during the past two months have hit the streets to seek the release of their arrested colleagues.

The Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister, Altaf Bukhari, has made desperate attempts to set the things right. He on many occasions during the past two months has asked the students to get in touch with him directly and had even promised to get their colleagues and classmates released but he seems to be a “lone warrior” who is not even getting the support from his own department leave aside Police and other law enforcing agencies.

If the student protests don’t end there is every possibility about students being pushed to edge again. The government has announced midterm exams and many people within the government believe that holding mid-term exams would restore the normalcy and students would return to their classes. It’s a hypothetical observation till the think tanks are proved correct. What’s the guarantee that students who come to appear for exams won’t stage protests?

If student protests have to end the government would have to look for practical solutions rather than experimenting with the situation, which already has taken an ugly turn and seems to have gone out of control.

Rather than acting tough against the students the government should make sure that police and paramilitary forces personnel are kept away from the colleges and Higher Secondary Schools. On the other hand the Education department should ensure that security within their institutions is able to deal with the emerging situation. Things take an ugly turn when the school and the college administrations seek help from the outside agencies to control the situation. No doubt police and other agencies are claiming that they are exercising restraint but someone needs to ask them is beating the students to pulp called exercising restraint? Or they mean to say that government should be thankful to them as no student killings have taken place so far?  People at the helm should understand that “danda” is not the only way out. They have to look for ways and means to somehow stop these protests. The officials cannot keep on running away from their duties by closing the educational institutions. They need to develop guts and face the situation. They need to bite the bullet and face the crisis. Running away is no solution. One hopes that better sense prevails and the school, college administrations make an attempt to reach out to the students. They need to realize that after parents, teachers are the best friends of the students and they can act as a bridge between the students and the government.






Rayat Bahra University, Mohali