Dr. Shahid Amin Trali
It is now three long decades when our paradise was set on fire. Since then no good dealings and extinguishers have been successful to calm it down. We have witnessed the pathetic treatments in terms of mass killings, bombings, exploitations, rapes, and so on. Hartals and strikes have been the routine but of late stone pelting has been the new method of our protestors. But, the damages done are beyond the limits. We have seen the revival of dark ages but it is equally true we live in a modern age. People have been caged and locked in chains. There is no one who has not suffered and there is no one who is free from the disruptive impacts of the Kashmir tragedy. But, the serious concern is our school going children have been deprived of education either by choice or chance. Our problems haven’t been addressed in a timely manner and thus rendered the situation from bad to worse.
The past days, all of a sudden, Kashmir’s serenity perished into thin air and that ephemeral peace didn’t last long. Peace was bombed into pieces in our valley. Some cruel attempts over the past three decades witnessed have been shoot at sight orders, crack downs, custodial killings, E-curfews and so on. It is true that at one stage Kashmiri youth were agitated but were always living in a sense of fear. The current scenario is different that today they are more agitated and more fearless. Our youth are willing to lose the precious lessons of schools and join protests.
A recent move, on part of the administration has been banning private coaching in the hope that youth will come to school and it will help in restoring normalcy in the valley. It is a well qualified fact that there can’t be a more serious concern than our school going children are picking up guns and stones and preferring agitations instead of joining schools to seek knowledge? Next, someone is wrong if they believe that the youth are on the wrong path. It is you as a leader and a policy maker who have failed to address their problems for long. Your failed measures not only have depressed them most. The situation has turned so intense now that our modest girls too have joined the movement. If youth are found ready to face bullets then you should not wait anymore; rather you must find solutions, the more early the better?
I am not in favor of coaching centers. I am in favor of good education for it will lead to prosperity and development of our state. I am in favor of right selection and higher motivation levels for our teacher. I am in favor of justified salaries for the teachers both in Govt. as well as private school. I am in favor of employment of youth who earn meager in schools and thus compensate with coaching practice. There is no wrong if we have coaching centers.
But, the teachers have all the reasons to justify their tasks in schools, be it private or Government schools. It is not you who, as a policy maker should ban private coaching. It is students themselves who should feel worth of attending schools and not going for private coaching. Banning coaching is like you are depriving one of part time when you have justified with your main job. Banning coaching for you means they will have no choice other than attending schools. But, you must bitterly accept they have many issues other than the school itself. You attempted banning private coaching but overlooked other problems in the ecosystem.
It is like a patient is suffering from tooth pain and as a doctor you are wrongly treating the other part of the system. The problems, at core, have to be identified and addressed. Some days back, when the ban was sanctioned , some of the coaching centers were interested in shifting their students to outside valley branches. So, rich students were all ready to go and only poor ones were the sufferers who had already paid huge charges. Moreover, we can’t resist from the fact that we have best of the faculty in Government schools who can offer solutions against private coaching. But it will take a long time for teachers there to take matter in their own hands. They are ready to challenge the perception that we have developed towards Government Schools. But the entire system needs a big overhaul.
Banning private coaching was never a wise and sustainable decision. So, why to even think of such measures which will not last long? There are deep rooted problems which leaders and policy makers have to understand and address as an effective system. Mr. Minister, can you give me a single reason that there is secretariat move and your Government announces the winter breaks when weather conditions are fine in Jammu and Kashmir?
Sincere and transparent measures are the need of the time now if you really care for the youth of the State. But , equally your administration has to care for the society as a whole. You must better understand that those half hearted attempts will only aggravate the problems further. Moreover, those who are spearheading the movement in Kashmir must not ignore the role and power of education for any society. Parents have a crucial role and must take a lead now in counseling better so that our youth receive real power of education. We must not forget that it is only education that has uplifted societies from dark ages to an age of values and freedom. Uneducated youth will only prove burdensome and a liability for any Nation. It is our collective responsibility that we must not compromise with the education of our youth.
—The author is an Assistant Professor, ITM University, Gwalior. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org