By Insha Latief
SRINAGAR: Braving bitter winter cold, students of different government schools of valley have been participating in rehearsals for Republic Day for more than a week.
While private schools have refused to send children for the R-Day parade citing opposition from parents, government schools are reportedly luring children with prospects of better grades.
By 9am, these students reach the Bakshi Stadium, where the rehearsals are being held for the final function to be held on 26 January.
The participating students complain that they had to reach the stadium “too early” in the morning in harsh cold.
“We are told to come in this harsh winter. If it would have been summer, it would have been fine but leaving house in rain and snow is very annoying,” Rahila Mir, a student said.
Arooj, another student said that despite wearing warm clothes they find it very cold.
“With warm clothes, we are still suffering. We have to cover long distance. How would warm clothes help in that?” she said.
While most teachers accompanying the students refused to talk on the issue, others expressed helplessness.
“We too get orders from higher authorities. We have to follow,” a teacher said, asking not to be named.
“Only God knows how I have managed to convince parents to allow students to participate. Sometimes parents clearly reject or get rude with us, what could we do then. We are also bound by orders,” she said.
She said that most students have been told that they will be awarded with prizes and certificates that would be beneficial for them in future.
“We even told them that you will lose marks if you don’t come. We too feel bad for them as we are also mothers but we have to do this,” she said.
Apart from harsh cold, teachers said, parents were reluctant to send their wards for the government function because of the recent uprising, in which a number of school children were killed and maimed.
G N Var, president of Private School Association of Kashmir told Kashmir Reader that “politicization” of education was an “unfortunate development” in the valley.
“It is very unfortunate for this society. Education was the only thing which could have saved our future,” Var said adding, “We are trying to identify those issues which can be separated from education.”
He added that the policy of the government should be student centric. “For seven months, schools were shut. Our policy should be that whatever happens, students should be imparted education,” Var said.
By Insha Latief