Protest, shutdowns weigh heavily on Shopian schools, colleges

Protest, shutdowns weigh heavily on Shopian schools, colleges
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Of 45 Mar-Apr working days, classes held only on 25 in Main Town govt schools

SHOPIAN: The education sector in Shopian witnessed a huge setback this year due to the spontaneous protest shutdowns and barring of class work by the authorities in the wake of the Valley’s ‘law and order situations’.
According to Education department officials, out of 45 working days in the months of March and April this year, classes were held for only 25 days in government higher secondary schools based in Shopian main town, and an equal number of working days were held in Government Degree College (GDC), Shopian.
“In the month of March, classes were conducted for only ten days out of 23 working days in the government boys’ and girls’ higher secondaries of Main Town Shopian. Of the 22 working days in the month of April, classes were conducted only for nine days due to shutdowns and barring of class work by authorities,” Chief Education Officer, Shopian, Muhammad Sadiq told Kashmir Reader.
Sadiq added that till May 15, classes in both town-based higher secondaries were conducted for only five days.
Another official said that the same number of classes was held in GDC, Shopian.
The continuous protest shutdowns and barring of class work by the authorities has heavily affected the education of children in this South Kashmir district. Insiders from the Education department said that teachers at several places tried to continue class work but were either threatened by protesters or were stoned, as in the incident of a school bus attacked by ‘stone pelters’.
Parents whose children are studying in private schools and who pay more than Rs 1,500 for the education of their children advise that the education sector should be excluded from the protest shutdowns as, according to them, the survival of a good society is at stake. Shutdowns and strike calls whether spontaneous or given by the resistance leadership should not apply to educational institutions, they held.
Muhammad Arif Bhat, a private teacher, said, “In this era of competition, science and technology, it’s better to die that to be illiterate.”
As per the official records, schools based in rural areas remained open for 39 days out of 56 working days this year, which is almost a positive figure as compared to the count in higher educational institutions.
Due to the frequent civilian and militant killings in different forces’ actions, Shopian has remained shut for almost 50 days this year and the internet too remains suspended for an equal number of days in the district.