How will we complete our syllabus? worry baffled students
Sopore: After being shut for three days due to continuous clashes between students and government forces, the Degree College of Sopore resumed class work today but with a new time table in which classes would be taken for girls on the first three days of the week while boys would have classes over the week’s remaining half.
The district administration had ordered a two-day suspension of class work in the college on May 11.
The notice announcing the change was issued on Saturday, in which it was stated that “In line with achieving the excellence in teaching learning process, college has devised a new time schedule for teaching which shall come in vogue from 15th of May 2017. As per revised time schedule, the class work of girl students shall be of 1st three days of week that is Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday and for boys last three days of week that is Thursday, Friday & Saturday”.
The statement further said that the duration of classes would now be one hour instead of the regular 45 minutes.
The sudden time table change has surprised the students, especially the college’s boys.
“It’s not easy to change the schedule of our classes,” a student who does not want to be named told Kashmir Reader. “Limiting classes to three days from six is stupidity. Our syllabus was in any case difficult to cover in six days of class work a week. It is now incomplete, and we have only three days of classes a week to cover it. Another glaring issue is that it was due to the presence of girls that government forces were hesitant to enter the college premises. Now, when there will be only boys for the last three days of week, they will come inside the college to beat and arrest us if something were to happen.”
When asked for the reasons of the changed schedule, college principal Prof. Mushtaq Ahmad said that the decision had been taken due to a high number of students and a lack of space to accommodate them. Moreover, given the fragile atmosphere created by the continuous clashes between students and government forces, the college authorities took the decision, Prof. Ahmad said, to control the student protest “for the safety of our students and their future, while also ensuring that it’s impossible for government forces to come inside the college premises”.
According to the data issued by the college authorities, there are presently almost 3,500 students on the rolls. During the recent student protests, government forces lobbed teargas shells inside the premises of not only the degree college but also inside the campuses of both Sopore’s two higher secondary schools, injuring a few and causing many student to faint, especially girls.
When this reporter asked Dr. Ahmad about the impact of this change on studies and syllabus completion, the principle said that most of the syllabus of the current semesters had already been covered and that staff would manage to complete the rest by the end of the month.
Given that several students of Degree College, Sopore, had been arrested during the protests, Kashmir Reader asked after measures the College authorities had taken for their release. Dr. Ahmad said that eight students of the institution had been taken into custody, of whom a few had been released that very day as they had exams scheduled early the next morning. “As for the rest, who are presently languishing in Sopore police station, we will do everything to get them released,” Dr. Ahmad said. “I have already talked with their parents and tomorrow I am personally going to meet them. They will be released very soon without any case being pressed against them.”
More than 20 students have been arrested in Sopore town and nearby areas in night raids over the past couple of days. The students have been detained on charges of stone-pelting and taking part in street protests and have been kept at Sopore police station for questioning. Most of those arrested are from Sopore’s already troubled educational institutions.
“We will continue this changed class schedule until such time as the situation does not improve and remains not conducive for the students,” Prof. Ahmad concluded.
However when this correspondent visited the Boys’ Higher Secondary School, Sopore, to ascertain the number of students arrested there, Abdul Rab, who had joined only the same day as the school’s new principle, said, “I have no information about it, but if our students have been arrested, we will definitely take measures to get them released as soon as possible.”
The student protests in the Kashmir valley have been going on for more than a month against a police raid on the government degree college, Pulwama.