Sheer Travesty

Sheer Travesty
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It is sheer travesty to even think that almost half of school children in government schools are without desks. In the 21st century where the paradigms of education and pedagogy thereof have dramatically and drastically changed, many students in Kashmir find themselves deprived of bare essentials. When this is the case, how can students like these be expected to complete their education , let alone perform. Education and its delivery is not merely about its delivery( which, as it stands, is of poor quality too) but also about the end to end, comprehensive infrastructure, both of the hard and soft variety. Generally speaking, as perhaps elsewhere, the economic structure of society in and of Kashmir is in the nature of a pyramid with a tiny elite occupying the top notch and the rest comprises of a small middle class and the underprivileged segments. It stands to reason that not everyone can afford to send their children to private schools. In fact, most cannot. Overlaying this hard and cold reality is the fact that there has, over the years, been a burgeoning of demand for education ,among all segments of society. People see education as the avenue for social and economic mobility. But, there are structural impediments to this aspiration. These include a poor teacher to student ratio, in comparative terms, poor or even abysmal infrastructure, both soft and hard, teacher truancy and the general poor and shoddy quality of education in government schools. These issues, in conjunction, mean that the life chances of students , especially from vulnerable segments of society, stand diminished. They either drop out, or meander in and during the course of their education. Consequently, their career prospects and choices are hampered. The end result is not deprivation but also solidification of a class structure wherein old inequities stand. This condition must be remedied. One step toward this must be provision of adequate infrastructure to and for schools. But, from a macro perspective, what is urgently needed is equity and efficiency in schooling which can and must be done on a war footing. Foreign experts can be hired to look into the issue and then measures be devised to redesign and rejigg education in Jammu and Kashmir. In the final analysis, children are our future. We owe them not only a good life but a decent education that makes it possible. Let the process begin now!