DSEK seeks suggestions to arrive at final decision
Srinagar: The ‘collaboration’ between the Traffic, Administration and Education Departments has left thousands of children facing potential hardship, mental and physical stress as the new proposal has asked them to report at schools before 8am. This may mean that many children are forced to wake up, in cases where schools are at a distance from their homes, as early as 5am or even earlier.
Director School Education Kashmir, Shah Faesal, told Kashmir Reader that the timing change has been a routine at the onset of May, however, in between, the J&K Traffic Department sent a letter to the state administration department for holding early classes of students in order to ensure ‘better traffic movement’ in the city.
The Traffic Department claimed that the new timing proposal – from 8 am in city areas and 9 am in rural areas – in view of Darbar move from May 9, ‘will ensure hassle-free flow of traffic movement’ in the city.
While the Directorate of School Education has put the ball in the public domain, seeking suggestions, the proposal has evoked strong resentment from parents. “Waking up children as early as 6 am would be an injustice to a 3 year old child. It will mean a lot of stress for young children if they don’t get adequate sleep,” says a nursery students’ parent living at HMT.
The students, particularly from the peripheries, have to travel miles daily to reach schools. Often, even after leaving early, they report late.
Some parents, while criticising the move that will adversely affect children for the sake of hassle-free movement of VIPs, said that if the government was sincere about managing the traffic chaos in city, it should set the example. “Open the secretariat and other government offices at 7am, it will ease the congestion of traffic on city roads, rather than telling a toddler to wake up at 6 am and attend classes,” said one among a group of angry parents from Nowhatta.
What schools heads have to say about the issue
Principal Green Valley Educational Institute, GN Aali, says the proposal would be inconvenient for the faculty, and students in particular. “Pulling a child out of bed so early is awful,” Aali said.
Principal Government Girls Higher Secondary School Kothi Bagh, says most of the faculty at the school have expressed their displeasure over the new timing proposal, citing domestic reasons.
Principal Iqbal Memorial Public School, Mohammad Yousuf, says the new timing may affect young students, but “If it eases the traffic chaos we will manage it.”
Director School Education Kashmir, Shah Faesal told Kashmir Reader that the department will take a few days to reach a consensus on the final decision as the department is monitoring the feedbacks from parents, students and civil society members: “We have posted both the arguments regarding the change in school timing on the official Facebook page of ‘Directorate of School Education Kashmir’ and have sought suggestions from students, parents and other civil society members to reach a final decision.”