Winter vacations become inevitable in Kashmir province, given the extremely harsh climatic conditions of the valley. Bone chilling cold, icy winds and snow bound roads make our schools inaccessible during winters. Some years ago, we had a tradition of winter tuition during the coldest season of the year in our valley when there were no coaching centers. Children would either move to the houses of their maternal grandparents or somewhere else in their vicinities for tuitions. The concept of coaching institutions was alien to us, then, particularly in rural areas where the presence of a tutor was not lesser than finding a God-father. Children of Mohall’s and villages would receive tuitions from the houses of these tutors. And tuition fee was not a pre-requisite to get admission. Many children would bring an indigenous rooster or some dozens of eggs for the tutor as remuneration. And pleasure derivation was a part of these tuitions. Children would enjoy visiting their tutors’ homes. There was neither the cut throat competition nor would parents force their children to become bookworms then. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy “was the maxim of the day.
Time changed, so changed the challenges and demands of academics. Nowadays, children are seen making rounds of different coaching institutions to get the best possible education. They roam from dawn to dusk to receive coaching in different subjects. Winter vacations have almost lost that old charm and significance because the growing academic challenges have chained our children to their books. On the one hand, it has deteriorated the physical health of our children but on the other hand, it has become quite inevitable to compete with the rest of the world. Children miss that pleasure derivation which is essential for the motivation and instigation of children to do well in academics. According to educationists, children should not feel their academics as a source of burden on them.
But, during our last academic year, we have had an unprecedented and almost obnoxious break. I won’t call it a winter break rather an autumn-winter break. Our schools remained closed for almost seven months. No doubt, we had examinations and results in between these months but who can deny the fact that our academic standards have been dented very badly during this period. The brunt of political uncertainties has hit the future of our children.
Now, schools are all set to reopen from today. Teachers, parents and authorities have greater responsibilities on their shoulders. All the stakeholders should play their roles with honesty and dedication. Roles stand already assigned to us but we need to exert. A lot of repair work needs to be done. There should be close coordination between teachers and parents. Periodic parent-teacher meets should be held. Parents should not leave it to teachers alone because it takes two to make a quarrel. Poor and careless parenting has been a dominant flaw of our school education system.
The bigger onus is on the teachers. They should take pledges to convert their resolutions into realities. They need to plan, execute and implement. Our New Year resolutions should be clear, and why can’t we display them on walls of our school. Let our colleagues and students know our priorities. It may inspire others as well. Teachers need to motivate themselves to give their best in their classrooms. They must forget the past. They need to infuse a new lease of life into the ailing elementary educational system. Teachers are the ambassadors who can make desired changes in the system. Let the first day of our academic calendar be a memorable one for our students and teachers. There is no scope for orthodox ways. Let us make our first morning assembly of the year very charming and beautiful. Let us blow the new air into the rusty microphones of our schools. Let teachers stop making side talks during morning assemblies. Let the beginning of the year be extraordinary. Teachers, particularly school heads should ensure the team spirit in the staff and the students. Let lazy and shirkers realize that there is no room for them in the department. We should build a system where deadwood is either thrown out forcibly or left to make way for others by resignation. Here, I don’t want to categorise teachers on the basis of their aptitudes, abilities or qualifications but certainly on the basis of their honesty and sincerity. Why can’t we all work together as a unit to overcome the deficiencies?
ZEOs, CEOs, DIET officials and others should gear themselves up for proper monitoring of schools. Feeble system of balances and checks is definitely weakening our system. Let the above mentioned officials devote some time for field visits. Hope they will plan their schedules in such a way that their administrative burden will not hinder the smooth functioning of our educational institutions. Leaving everything to the conscience of the teacher will not yield better results . Accountability is an important tool to overhaul the system.
Parents of the children have a vital role to play in the reorganization and Renaissance of our schools. Parents of government school children are often seen insensitive towards the education of their children. These children mostly resort to absenteeism which hampers their academic process because parents hardly bother about their punctuality in the schools. Parents most often neglect or pay less heed to the education of their children. This bizarre stereotype needs to be broken. Parents should visit the schools periodically where their children are studying. They should possess the sense of belongingness in themselves. There should be close rapport between parents and teachers. Parents very often show less response to the invitations from school authorities. Parents should change their perception about government schools. Poor response of parents dents the morale of teachers and students. Let us pray that our academic year will run smoothly without hiccups and hindrances.
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