Srinagar: Terming the return of Kashmiri students from outside colleges as the “biggest challenge” before the society, Private Schools’ Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) and Coaching Centres’ Association of Kashmir (CCAK) Friday called for joint efforts to cope up with the issue.
In a joint press conference here, the associations also called for keeping education apolitical.
“Around 3,000 students have arrived and more are coming (in the wake of attacks and harassment over Pulwama attack). It is becoming one of the biggest challenges before us. Majority of these students including girls have been humiliated, intimidated and threatened. There are cases of beatings too,” they said.
“At places, colleges have been forced to rusticate the students and police has been pressurised to register cases against them on frivolous charges,” G N Var, chairman PSAJK, said.
He said in such a situation the students are not willing to go back to colleges outside the state.
“Even the parents are apprehensive about their wards re-joining the colleges in such an atmosphere. Maybe the situation cools down in some days but nobody is sure about the future. What if a similar situation arises again?,” he said.
“Elections are approaching in the coming months and the atmosphere will be charged and even polarised. In such a sensitive atmosphere of manipulative politics, there is every likelihood that our students can become hostage to the situation again,” Var said.
He said the associations have been time and again pleading that education should remain politically neutral and asked the local political parties and leaders to limit their words and actions to facilitate the progress and development of education sectors and not do politics on education.
“Had our political leaders who are currently raising a hue and cry over the expulsion of Kashmiri students paid heed to the development of educational infrastructure in Kashmir, this situation would have been largely avoided,” he said.
Var asked the government to come to the rescue of these students and relax the rules for the establishment of colleges and universities as a one-time immediate measure.
“Colleges and private universities should be allowed to operate from rented accommodations with the assurance of development of infrastructure in five or 10 years. Similarly, other rules be relaxed too. We assure you that we will be self-sufficient in most of the courses within a few years,” he said.
The chairman PSAJK said if the immediate measures were not taken, the situation could go from bad to worse.
Criticising the implementation of the Prime Minister Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) in the state, Var said the scheme is “biased towards the educational institutes of the state” and demanded its rules be amended.
“They give Rs 1200 crore scholarship for colleges outside J-K. Had they included local colleges in the scholarship, the students would have been safe and the local infrastructure would have also developed,” he said.
The association threatened to boycott the PMSSS from the coming session if the colleges of the state were not included in the scheme. PTI