Srinagar: After last year’s snub by private schools to the School Education department, which had asked some private schools to send their students to the official Republic Day celebrations on January 26, not a single private school has been invited to participate in this year’s event. The official celebrations are being held this year at a new venue: the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium (SKCS) in Srinagar.
Officials at the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) told Kashmir Reader that the government faced “embarrassment” last year after private schools refused to participate in the event and three schools that had agreed to attend it, backtracked from the promise.
“To avoid the same from happening again, no private school has been invited this year to attend the event. We are managing the requirements of parade squads from the quota coming from government schools,” an official said.
He said that the department couldn’t do anything after schools backtracked from participating in the event, even though it called for “stern action” against these schools.
“It is now believed that private schools won’t be participating in such celebrations in the future as well, given the opposition the school managements face from parents of children enrolled in these schools. Considering that, we might not send invitations to them (private schools) in future,” he said.
The DSEK’s decision has caused a fall in the number of school children participating in this year’s Republic Day celebrations. As against the usual number of 700 to 1000 participating students, just 300 students are expected to attend the event this year.
“Usually, 16 to 22 parade squads of both girls and boys participated in this event, but today the number has slumped to just 8 squads,” the DSEK official said.
Chief Education Officer Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Dar, confirmed to Kashmir Reader that private schools are not participating in the event and that they haven’t been invited either.
“Considering that they don’t send their students to attend these events, we didn’t ask them to send their students this year. Even then we have enough students to cater to the requirements,” he said.
About the less number of students participating this year, Dar said it was because of the new venue which “can’t accommodate the usual number of students”.
“We were asked to send just 8 squads this year due to limited space. Besides, one private school –Tyndale Biscoe– might also be participating in the celebrations along with police public school Bemina,” he said.
Students that will participating in the event will be coming from boys higher secondary Zadibal, MP higher secondary school Khanyar, SP higher secondary school, boys higher secondary chool Soura, boys school Tailbal and Hazratbal, girls higher secondary school Kothibagh, and girls higher secondary school Nawakadal.