Editorial: Education sector requires great care

It seems the state government has finally realized that over the past few years, the education sector in Kashmir has been deliberately pushed into a morass. The student unrest across the Kashmir Valley may have triggered off by an avoidable incident in Pulwama three weeks ago but a deeper analysis may also point to the fact that the entire education system was derailed in the name of reforms that led to chaos and utter confusion.

Ever since the command of the department has been shifted there is a perceptible change on the ground. This needs to be sustained and pursued without employing compulsive methods. The students and teachers form a dominant section of our society. The government’s attitude towards this community has far-reaching consequences on the society as a whole.

While the educational activities continue unhindered in Ladakh and Jammu regions, the sector has been immensely suffering in Kashmir because of a bevy of reasons. The unpredictable weather has often impacted the academic calendar besides the explosive security or law and order situations, which erupt in the Valley after regular intervals. Last year, the educational institutions remained shut for more than five months leaving all projections and plans topsy-turvy.

It is very difficult to compensate for the losses accrued on account of last year’s uprising. However, conducive atmosphere for educational activities could have set the ball rolling but unfortunately the Pulwama incident and its aftermath again hindered this process. Nevertheless, the administration’s debatable interventions are aimed at restricting the students to their educational pursuits.

For the past more than two years, the hierarchy in education department was on a controversial reformation spree. In the ultimate analysis, the so-called reforms proved to be disastrous. Be it the humiliating attitude towards the low paid teachers like Rehbar-e-Taleem and the proposals to put them through a new screening process to confirm their jobs or the induced waywardness in colleges in the name of co-education and modernity, the educational institutions had been put on a wrong track.

The transfer policy eventually proved to be a money-minting exercise and an effective tool to get the most influential teachers, especially ladies, to their choicest places. Those who have seen the development of education in the state for the past seven decades, both in private and public sector, say that the sector has never been in such a mess as they found it in past more than two years.

 The troika of helmsmen—minister, commissioner and director—actually set the agenda for any department to ruin or flourish. It is heartening that after a long time, this combination has been created of people who have no destructive ideas and seem to be accommodative to positive and constructive pursuits. The damage caused to the educational sector is being assessed and realized and stakeholders including teachers, students and private investors are being approached for coarse corrections. This is the right approach and must be pursued with full sincerity. Imposition of harsh and unimaginative diktats has caused severe dent to the peace of teaching and taught community. The system is required to be brought back to rails with accountability and order. That would settle several issues confronting the system whether they are inherent, situational or collateral.

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