Officials say student protests were anticipated
SRINAGAR: To prevent student protests during the six-day protest programme announced by United Jehad Council chief Syed Salahudin to mark the first death anniversary of Hizb commander Burhan Wani, the state government announced on Thursday summer vacations for all educational institutions.
The vacations have been announced from July 6 to July 15. Burhan Wani’s death anniversary is on July 8.
According to officials of the education department, the vacations have been announced to avoid anticipated student protests, as “safety of students is the government’s priority”.
Students have not taken well to the announcement. Many of them said that there was no need of them in this pleasant weather, that their disrupted academic calendar will be further disrupted, and that the government is not allowing them to express their sentiments freely.
Shabir, a student of Kashmir Government Polytechnic College, told Kashmir Reader, “We don’t need summer vacations in this pleasant weather. They are once again stopping students from expressing their sentiments.”
The prolonged unrest in the Valley, coupled with shutdowns and government holidays has already marred the academic calendar of most institutions. Students said that announcing vacations at this time will aggravate their academic loss.
Nisa, a student of Women College at MA Road, said, “Due to the shutdowns we could complete only 20%-30% of the semester’s syllabus. Now further holidays will disturb the academic calendar even more.”
To compensate the academic loss, students in some educational institutions have been told to attend zero class in morning hours and extra classes in the evening.
A teacher of a college in Srinagar, wishing anonymity, said, “We don’t want students to complain. The study material is available on the website of colleges and we will help them with extra classes.”
Sheikh Showkat, a political analyst, said that the fear of student protests seems to be the reason for the early vacations. “Government authorities must have thought that students will again hit the streets, as they have done before. On one side they sermonise that education should be kept away from politics, and on the other side most of the decisions related to education are taken on the basis of political expedience,” he said.
Asgar Samoon, Commissioner Secretary Higher Education Department, said that the 10-day vacations have been announced for the benefit of students. “It’s important to declare holidays so that students can enjoy. This time, we couldn’t declare vacations for more days because of the shutdowns and the 2016 uprising which kept students away from schools,” Samoon said.