Shopian: Though a lot of things are being touted by the government in the name of empowerment and education of girls, the government girls’ higher secondary school in Shopian is a study in contrast.
Despite being the lone girls’ higher secondary school in the entire district, it has never received the attention of higher authorities and those officials who have been authorised to spend tens of lakhs of rupees on the central government’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.
A student of this school told Kashmir Reader that only a few “outdated” subjects are being taught here instead of subjects that the girls want to study. “This is the only school in the whole world where subjects are being taught against the choice and interest of students,” she said.
According to officials, the school was established in 1982 and is the lone school especially for girls in Shopian district. However, the students say that they are forced to study subjects which have no value or relevance.
“Do they want to produce scientists, engineers, economists without teaching these subjects?” asked Iqra Jan, a student.
According to the school officials, subjects like Statistics, Biochemistry, Functional English, Geology, Commerce, Sociology, Psychology, Computer Science, Information Technology and Electronics are subjects long being demanded by the students but due to the lack of staff and infrastructure, the school is unable to teach these courses.
A teacher told Kashmir Reader that there is no commerce stream, which forces students to seek admission in other districts but those who are not economically sound lose out as they cannot bear the expenses.
The school also has only one lecturer for the subjects taught in all the classes. Officials say there is a shortage of teachers as vacancies are being met through internal arrangements.
English, a subject mandatory for all classes, has only one lecturer for at least 900 girl students studying in the school.
The Shopian Reading Club, headed by Arshid Aziz, also pressed for the demand of inclusion of modern subjects in the school as well as creating posts for the new subjects. He told Kashmir Reader, “Even in this 21st century our daughters are being denied basic rights like education. These conventional subjects which are being taught here have no value beyond the school and yet the government is beating drums about women empowerment.”
Chief Education Officer Shopian, Mushtaq Ahmad, said that they have sent school-wise information to the government. “When they (government) will sanction new subjects and posts, we will start teaching them in schools. Otherwise, how can we teach them without the needed staffers and other infrastructure,” he said.
Director of School Education, Muhammad Younus Malik, told Kashmir Reader that the department is working on it. “Government has already formed a committee for the creation of posts to teach more subjects at the higher secondary level. Inshallah, we will do it very soon,” he said.