Pvt schools defy govt, announce mass promotion to students

IQBAL KIRMANI

SRINAGAR: Overruling the state government’s order to delay all academic examinations till March next year, the private schools operating in the flood-devastated Kashmir Valley on Sunday announced mass promotion to students of classes up to 7th without any test.
Announcing the decision in a press briefing here, Coordination Committee of Private School Association (CCPSA) said the students will be promoted purely on the basis of their previous performance “to classify them as under-average, average, and above-average”.
“For relief to lakhs of students, all schools of the Valley have decided to unanimously give mass promotion to the students from Nursery to Class 7. The decision has been taken in view of the recent floods,” Central Coordinator of CCPSA, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad, said.
The decision, taken after the meeting between representatives of schools, teachers, parents, and businessmen, is expected to be implemented with immediate effect.
“The schools will complete formalities in the coming days, and the next session shall begin from November 1,” Dr Ahmad said.
Formed in response to affect of floods on the Valley’s school education sector, CCPSA claims to be the umbrella body representing about 6,000 private schools in the Valley. Excluding from it, according to G N Var, general secretary of the Private Schools United Front (a component of CCPSA), “are the schools associated with B Ed colleges, the government-funded schools, and four reputed educational institutions”.
The decision comes shortly after the government ordered delay up to March 2015 in all academic examinations that were to be held in the Valley after September. And it was taken after government is said to have ignored the suggestions made by CCPSA in the recent weeks.
“We suggested the ministers and bureaucrats to either reduce the syllabus or to promote all students on the basis of previous performance. Agreeing to our view point, they announced that the examinations will be held on time, but the Cabinet later decided to delay the examinations till March,” Var said.
“Yet we tried to meet the ministers for change in the decision, but they didn’t bother to meet us. So, we are forced to conclude the session without waiting till March. And if government hampers our efforts, we will launch a protest,” he said.
The CCPSA’s decision has acquired support of Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Forum (JKTF), Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), and High Court Bar Association.
“Decision to change the session was taken by the government because bureaucrats have left the Valley with their families. Examinations in 2008 and 2010 were held when the syllabus was still incomplete, but this year the session was changed as flood has forced the bureaucrats and ministers to escape,” JKTF chairman Abdul Qayoom Wani, who is also president of Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC), said in the press conference.
Wani said the change of session was the “government’s attempt to accomplish political motivates at the cost of the students’ future.”
He said the recommendations made by the forum were not considered as promised by the authorities.
“We had given recommendations of mass promotion up to Class 9, and 10 percent grace marks or open choice in questions for Class 10 to 12. The government functionaries said they would consider the recommendation, but later they did not do it.”
Chairman KEA, Showkat Chowdhary raised apprehensions about the decision making in the state, saying the decision of March session “has been taken by someone else”.
“We had talked to the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah about the examinations, but later the decision eventually made by the state was in contravention of what he had told us. It means someone behind the curtain is playing key role in decision making,” he said.
Advocate G N Shaheen of the Bar Association termed the government’s decision to change the session as “flawed, needing a thorough review”.
Meanwhile, the CCPSA formally joined the KEA headed by Chowdhary.