School bells ring again after 8 months

By Nusrat Sidiq/ Insha Latief   
Srinagar: After eight long months, schools in the Valley opened once again on Wednesday.
Students were visibly thrilled to be back among friends and teachers, and some schools organised welcome sessions during the morning prayers. Schools in Kashmir had been shut since the day Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed on 8 July 2016.
Attendance at government schools was thin on the first day but at private schools in Srinagar, attendance was 90 percent. Nasreen, principal of the government middle school at Kothi Bagh, said that only 40 students attended the school on Wednesday because of bad weather conditions. She, however, said that the children who came were extremely happy to be back.
“Children are together after months and they are very happy. They are meeting their friends and sharing their lunch with each other,” she said.
In another government school in Srinagar, the numbers of students present was only 5.
At the private Kashmir Havard School, attendance was 90 percent. A student, Haya Javeed Kirmani, said, “I was very nervous to come to school because I had not done my assignments, but when I came to school I saw that nobody had done all the assignments. I am very happy now.”
Wardah Sheikh, another student, said, “I was waiting for the past eight months for the day when I will be back at school. Today, I have no words to express how happy I am. I was missing my friends, teachers and, most importantly, the school noise.”
Arshid Ahmed, a teacher at Kashmir Harvard School, said, “Students are happy to get back to school and we as teachers were missing the students as much. Hopefully, this year we will have a good academic year.”
Amaan Dar, a student of Class 5 at Kashmir Harvard School, said that during the long break he had written rap songs on the Kashmir freedom movement.
Private schools like Radiant Public School, Oasis Public school and Orange International reported high attendance on the first day. The principals of these schools said that they were happy with the lively scenes at school now that the students were back.
Asifa Javaid, a student who came to study in a government school in Srinagar from her home in Kupwara last year, said, “My mother told me to go to school from Monday, but I was missing my school. I told papa to get me back here so that I don’t miss any class.”
Another student, Asima, of Class 3, said that she missed her teacher the most. She said, “I called my ma’am on phone many times but she didn’t respond. I was crying a lot because I was missing her. When I came to school today I hugged her. She gave me her mobile number.”
Imran Aziz, a student who aspires to be a pilot, said that in the initial days when the school closed, he enjoyed playing cricket all day but then he grew bored. “I realised that school is good and studies are good, too. One should study as well as play. In school, when I get good marks, everyone claps for me. I was missing my friends the most,” Imran said with a happy smile.
Sazia Ali, a teacher at a government school, said, “Before declaring vacations, we called the students but they couldn’t come because many of them had gone out of station. It is a great feeling that they are happy together.”