Schools re-opening today
Srinagar: The education department in Kashmir has come out with an academic calendar to offset any loss of academic activities due to law-and-order problems and other unforeseen circumstances this year.
“We have devised an academic calendar for entire 2018 session so as to compensate for any losses due to unforeseen circumstances or law and order issues,” G N Itoo, Director School Education Kashmir, told PTI. The announcement has been made close on the heels of re-opening of educational institutions in the Valley on March 5 after three months of winter break.
He said according to the new calendar, if any academic time is lost, it will be made up by keeping the schools open on subsequent holidays.
“We learnt from the events in 2016 and 2017 and have prepared this calendar which is time-bound and target-based,” he said.
Itoo said monthly targets have been set for completion of syllabus for various classes and there will be continuous monitoring done to ensure that the students do not suffer on any account.
“Last year, due to the student unrest, we had announce the mid-term exams at short notice. It is natural that there was anxiety among the students but somehow we managed it that time through an internal mechanism. The new calendar leaves no room for surprises or announcements at short notice. The students shall be aware of what is expected to come right when they start the class work,” he added.
Educational institutions in Kashmir remained closed for over five months in 2016 due to the widespread protests following killing of Hibzul Mujahideen ‘commander’ Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in July that year.
The government had to announce mass promotion for all classes except 10th and 12th standards. However, the students of these classes had to be given 50 per cent exemption from the syllabus so that they could write the board examinations.
In 2017, academic work in many educational institutions was badly affected due to student agitation which broke out after security forces allegedly entered a college in Pulwama and thrashed the students there.
Itoo said several measures have been taken to ensure that the standard of education in public run schools comes to the expected levels.
“Special focus is on attendance of the students as well as the teachers. There will be complete transparency in what we do and full accountability of what is expected of every stakeholder,” he said.
The director said last year 600 students were not allowed to write board examinations as they were falling short of the required attendance.
“It was with a very heavy heart but the students have to know that the minimum attendance of classwork will not be compromised. We will be keeping a constant eye on the attendance of the students in an effort to ensure that they do not miss the final examination,” he said.
In order to ensure 100 per cent attendance of students in schools, biometric attendance system for the students shall be installed in every high and higher secondary school of the state, the official said.
On the performance of the government schools in the last year’s board examinations, Itoo said the department has fixed the responsibility for poor results in certain public schools.
“We have placed under suspension several teachers whose performance was not up to the mark. However, we have given them a chance to improve during the winter break and asked them to take special classes of the failed students while they prepare for supplementary examinations. If the result of the wards of these teachers show improvement, they will be reinstated,” he said.
Itoo said the state government is focussed on improving the education sector in the state.
“This year, the allocation for the school education has been increased three times. It will help us in addressing the infrastructure issues which are so vital for overall development of the students,” he said.