The loses students community is suffering are growing enormous with every day that goes down as a shutdown or closure ordered by the government itself. The scenario is proving detrimental for students in terms of their academic performance as the academic session this year witnessed less than 60 percent class work.
All the educational institutions resumed their class work post over two month winter vacations on March 01 this year. However, the academics were adversely hit due to frequent closure of schools over the past six months.
Education sector had to bear the brunt from both the sides as schools remained shut due to shutdown calls by separatist groups or by the orders of closure issued by the government.
This year government frequently ordered for closure of schools following the Valley wide protests that erupted in wake of forces action on students in Pulwama Degree College.
As per the analysis done by the newspaper, schools remained closed for over 64 days in last over five months.
The closure of over 64 days includes 20 Sundays, 12 gazetted holidays, eight days summer vacations besides some shutdown calls announced by Joint Resistance Leadership (JDL) and government announced suspension of class work in all educational institutions.
The government defended its decision often citing ‘anticipated student protests’ as reason for taking the ‘precautionary measures’ of locking down the classrooms.
In March, schools mostly remained closed and witnessed closure for six days excluding four Sundays and two state holidays.
Later, on April 3, exactly a week ahead of Lok Sabha By-Elections for Srinagar parliamentary constituency, educational institutions were taken over by paramilitary troops who were called for election duty in poll-bound Kashmir.
Post bypolls for Srinagar parliamentary constituency on April 09, the closure of schools extended for a week’s time in the wake of civilian killings on the poll day.
The closure of schools adversely hampered the academic calendar in schools.
As the schools resumed class work the government ordered for closure of all schools in April following massive students protest, triggered after police action on students in Pulwama college on April 15 (Saturday), leaving 50 students injured.
From April 17 to May 30, J&K government ordered for suspension of class work in schools across Kashmir for 17 days, often citing ‘anticipated student protests’ as ‘precautionary measures.’ The closure excludes Sundays and other gazetted holidays.
In the month of May, Kashmir witnessed five shutdowns by JRL besides five official holidays including four Sundays and one state holiday.
“Till the end of June, the schools have remained closed for over 50 days from March,” said a teacher posted in a higher secondary school in Kupwara district.
Meanwhile, in July, the school education Department announced summer vacations for around eight days, which the parents and even in some cases were resented by the students as well.
The vacations were announced from July 07 to July 16 which coincided with the martyrs week announced by JRL. JRL had announced a protest calendar from July 07 to July 14.
The announcement of summer vacation was seen ‘anti academic’ as the decision hit the academic activities in schools.
The number of holidays witnessed an increasing trend in Kashmir schools at a time when National Curriculum followed by the Education department calls for reducing the number of holidays ‘to ensure covering of the entire syllabus for all classes.’
Besides summer vacations, schools also remained closed on two Sundays in July.
Later, in August there was no class work on 03, 14 and 15th August besides two Sundays.
The class work was suspended on August 03 in view of student protest that erupted in wake of militant killing during an encounter in South Kashmir. On August 14 the class work remained suspended as per the government decision as well.
The schools are witnessing frequent closure despite the government directions to school heads for completing 100 percent syllabus.
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK), G N Itoo said they are mulling to introduce extra classes to compensate the academic loss.
“We are aware of the situation which has affected the academic in schools. We will start extra classes which were most affected by the frequent closures,” he said.