By Insha Latief
Srinagar: Education department might take a punitive action against the management of private schools that have not complied with its orders asking them to send schoolchildren for Republic Day celebrations.
During a meeting on January 2, director school education Kashmir had told all chief education officers to prepare a list of students who will be participating in the main R-Day function held at Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar.
Three reputed private schools that initially consented to sending their children have also backed out.
Children from about 30 schools, mainly government schools and including Police Public Schools, along with their ‘escort teachers’ have been attending daily rehearsals at Zevan camp from January 9 amid harsh cold conditions.
In addition to preparations for the parade, some students have also been rehearsing for cultural programmes for three-and-a half hours at Sher-i-Kashmir Indoor Stadium.
President Private School Association of Kashmir GN Var told Kashmir Reader, “How can we compel students when their parents don’t want to send their children. Many children were killed, blinded and maimed. How can parents send their children for such programmes?”
In the wake of last year’s massive uprising triggered by the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani, students had given Independence Day celebrations a skip.
Srinagar chief education officer Arif Iqbal Malik said, “Principals of those private schools were informed to send their students for rehearsals but they have failed to comply with the orders. We might take some action against them.”
Malik said the department has been providing refreshments, transport facility as well as heating facility for the participating students.
“Parents have been sending their children despite cold conditions. I have taken heating systems from various sections of my office and installed them here from yesterday,” he said.
Asima Shah, a student said, “When we were practicing here on the first day we shivered with cold. But from yesterday we are getting good facilities.”
Ruqaya Bhat, another student, said her parents let her attend rehearsals only on the condition that she would not miss her private tuitions.
Rehana, a teacher accompanying the students, said due to cold weather and last year’s uprising, a lesser number of students are participating this time.
“We are trying our best to motivate parents so that they can allow their child to attend rehearsals,” she said.