Budgam: Puncturing the government’s claims of bringing reform to the education sector, several schools here in central Kashmir’s Budgam are yet to receive the books for this academic session, badly affecting studies in these schools.
It is now two months since the schools reopened in Kashmir, yet dozens of schools here in several education zones of Budgam are yet to receive their books, which has created anxiety among students and parents.
The new academic session has brought troubles instead of relief for several schools in Soibug and Dreygam education zones as they are already in dire need of books.
In Zone Soibugh, the schools with insufficient books are Government Middle School, Laribal; Government Middle School, Paimus, and Government Primary School, Najar Mohallah, Laribal. In Zone Dreygam, Government High School, Choon, has also not received books in the number required.
Pertinently, students enrolled up to 7th standard in government educational institutions are provided books free of cost by the department every year, as part of the education policy.
However, the schemes have only hampered academics instead of improving the quality of primary-level education.
“It’s a matter of great disappointment and shame for the School Education Department that even though almost two months of schooling have already passed, the children of many institutions in Zone Soibugh are without books,” a teacher said, requesting anonymity.
He added that despite the concerned department’s tall claims about reform in school education, the situation on the ground is miserable.
“However, people at the Innovation Cell are busy depicting a rosy picture of our schools, and every Tom, Dick and Harry is busy tarnishing the image of the teaching community,” he said.
“We are all living in a make-believe world, somewhat like Alice in Wonderland. It’s a pity that the Teachers’ Forum president has no time to comment on these issues despite their gravity, being directly related to the children in our schools,” another teacher said, adding, “I want to ask the officials what their utopia of school reform is all about?”
Interestingly, to overcome the schools’ deficiencies, teachers are ‘managing’ their work by distributing books received during the previous session among this year’s students newly-promoted to the classes to which the books belong.
“We collect back the books from students who are promoted to the next classes and distribute the same among fresh students,” said a teacher.
When asked how they manage despite the shortage of books, he said that students promoted every year to the next class share their books with juniors, which assists them in going ahead with the new academic session.
“This practice is routine in schools now as the government doesn’t provide the students all their books. Same is the case this year: academic session is on, but schools are without books,” he said.
“Similarly, uniform distribution has become another headache. Uniform distribution is likely to be made after the end of this session. Till then, children have to attend schools in fancy dress clothes of their choice,” he said sarcastically.
The Joint Secretary, Publications, Arif Ahmad Akhoon, when contacted by Kashmir Reader said that the department had distributed hundred percent books in the first week of December.
“We have nothing outstanding as on date,” he said, adding, “whatever was the requirement in Budgam, each and every zone has been distributed hundred percent books way back in the month of December”.
When asked where the fault lies, he said the concerned Chief Education Officer (CEO) would answer better.
However, CEO Budgam Abdul Rouf Shahmari could not be contacted, despite repeated tries.