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Academic standards in Kashmir are deteriorating

Academic standards in Kashmir are deteriorating
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Kashmir has been going through a political turmoil for last three decades or so. And the field of education has suffered the most

Mushtaq Hurra
Conflict zones of the world are vulnerable to political uncertainties, prolonged shutdowns, violent strikes, civilian casualties, curfews, sufferings, miseries, starvations and pains. Consequently economy, administration, healthcare, business, banking and other sectors of life are badly affected.
And all these sectors have a scope to overcome the brunt and the losses they suffer due to turmoil, once normalcy is restored. With the passage of time, the wounds inflicted by political uncertainties on different sectors of life, heal up. But one sector which is considered to be the backbone of every society, mother of all professions viz education, suffers irreparable loss and extreme damage. It leaves a void which is impossible to fill. It gives rise to academic gaps among learners which have both short term and long term consequences upon the student community.
In its short term consequences, it halts the academic tempo and momentum of a learner. It derails a learner from the track because during political uncertainties, a learner is detached from the academic environment like school, teacher and peer learners.
There is no substitute for the patronage of a teacher, and the educational environment of school. No doubt, many parents arrange tutors for their children at homes but most of the parents hardly bother about it. And this tutioning is never an alternative for routine schooling.
Schooling helps a child in his/her personality development. Thus, it is quite evident that the prolonged distances between children and school leave children vulnerable to develop academic snags which obstruct their smooth educational journey.
In its long term consequences, the lacunas of elementary level are reflected in the future of a learner. During secondary and higher education, the child faces hardships to compete with rest of the children because the horizon of competition increases by manifolds in the hierarchy. Such children curse their parents and teachers, then.
Modern age is the age of cut throat competition where there is no scope for complacency. Thus, it is imperative for all the stakeholders to devise a midway to save the education of our children from the impacts of political uncertainties.
Our educational backwardness is sure to cement the chains of our slavery and superstitions. Illiteracy and poor education will certainly put us to mental, spiritual, social and economic slavery. Logic and reasoning ceases in a nation if it lags behind in the field of education. The only difference between the developed and the underdeveloped nations of the world is their education. Those who prioritize it over all the other issues emerge glorious and successful while as those, who neglect it, fall into the clutches of dishonour and humiliation.
Education ensures the intellectual growth, economic development and prosperity, positive social change, improvement of human resources. Only Trained and skilled workforce can utilise natural resources to the best of their potential. And it is the education which improves our training and skill.
Uneducated people and nations can’t harness resources to the best possible levels. It is the education which has enabled Ibni-Adam to conquer the moon and the Mars. It is this skill which has helped man to pierce the bosom of hefty mountains . West has taken a lead over us. They are far ahead of us though they are lesser in number. It is their education which puts them ahead of us. Our intellectuals, statesmen, writers and other stakeholders must realise the gravity of the matter, otherwise our future looking is extremely bleak, and our existence is at stake.
Kashmir has been going through a political turmoil for last three decades or so. I believe that the field of education has suffered the most. No doubt, our children have proven their mettle at national and international levels but the scars of turmoil are quite evident on our education.
Many periods were quite tumultuous for the valleyites but the last one decade has been quite detrimental for our education, given some unprecedented and prolonged shutdowns. The whole educational field of the valley in general and the school education field in particular have suffered huge losses.
Though the affluent manage to send their children to private tutors but the poor and the downtrodden people haplessly watch their children being deprived of their birth right. These children are mostly admitted in government schools, as poor hardly manage the expensive education in private educational institutions for their children. We have had multiple mass promotions during the last six years, in our schools.
In 2014, it was the rage of the deluge which hammered our elementary education very badly, in 2016; we had another infamous mass promotion in our schools. And who can forget 2019? It was a virtual mass promotion though our children appeared in their annual examinations and did well.
Examination is never the only tool to measure the academic excellence of children. One can easily imagine the educational standards of our children with almost three mass promotions in six years. Poor academics is quite visible in our children. And a teacher is the best person to note all these things. This author has been part of this year’s winter tutioning at a government school. The scars of academic gap is vividly exhibited in our children, particularly the children of lower classes. They are hardly able to read and write. Any further negligence on part of teachers, parents and school management will certainly worsen the scenario.
Controlling political uncertainties is beyond the domain of laymen , teachers and students. But we can certainly invent ways to ensure that our schools are least disturbed. All the stakeholders should work together to make up for these losses.
It is obligatory for all of us to give a serious thought to it. Teachers should ensure extra classes for the children in coming days. Parents must take responsibilities. Leaving it entirely to teachers, will not yield the results. Our future course of strategy must be meticulously crafted and surgically executed. There is no room for excuses now.
(The writer is a teacher and a columnist. He contributes to Kashmir Vision and can be reached at mushtaqhurra143@gmail.com)


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