The Sorry State of Education in Kashmir

The Sorry State of Education in Kashmir
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BY TARIQ MANTOO

Nelson Mandela, the man known for dismantling apartheid in South Africa, once said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. Mandela , the politician of international repute , used education as a tool for freedom in South Africa. Education is not all about reading books and passing examinations. The whole life, from birth to death is a process of learning. Quality education is the strongest tools of human empowerment and makes people stronger enough to withstand the challenges of life in any given situation.
Education, among other things , keep peoples aware at a range of levels. It plays a vital role in nurturing the talent of the people in prime youth. Education is the only instrument which provides ample opportunities to people to learn the real human values and understand the modes of professional excellence in every sphere of human life. Going through the history people come to know that first modern boy’s school in Kashmir was founded in 1880 by J. Hinton Knowles in the premises of missionary hospital in Srinagar founded as the Church Mission Society school boys. It is now called the Tyndale Biscoe School named after Earle Tyndale Biscoe who was the first principal in 1891.There where 250 students in the beginning ( all of them were Brahmin Hindus). The Muslim majority was ignored by the leaders. Then, in 1899 , Mirwaiz Molvi Rasool Shah founded an organization called Anjuman-e-Nusratul Islam to promote religious education and spread its network throughout the valley.
Everyone in Kashmir valley knows that education is priceless and it is for this reason that every parent wishes and hopes that his/her child gets the best education to withstand all the challenges of human life.
Jammu & Kashmir is the only place that has made education free to all citizens at all levels, but the region is still educationally backward. The process of education in Kashmir has faced many challenges in the past and the current security scenario is also throwing up huge challenges to growth of education in the state.
Now, the question arises how to tackle the challenge emanating from the disturbances and bring about improvement in the field of education. Corruption and nepotism have become the order of the day as transparency in selection process is throwing up new challenges to meritorious students and performers of the highest standards. The lack of transparency in the selection processes ultimately becomes the source of discouragement for the hard working and talented youth of Jammu and Kashmir. Governments have not taken care of the meritorious but instead have encouraged the children of power wielding politicians through favoritism and nepotism.
Many politicians both the mainstream and as well separatists are sending their wards to foreign countries for education, but show no concern for the future of the children of the middle class people who always find themselves at the receiving end . So education brings frustration and miseries to the middle class families.
Time has come for all the educated youth to come forward and highlight their issues. I have seen many poor boys who have talent but, due to of financial problems they can’t pursue higher education. It is the duty of our teachers to recognize those students and guide and help them in their future endeavors. Last, the whole education system must be reformed with focus on weeding out corruption and nepotism from the selection process.

The author can be reached at: mantootariq@gmail.com