Battling floods, Kashmir students in troubled waters over exams now

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Oct 01, 2014 20:19 IST

Set up in 1880, Kashmir's first missionary school Tyndale Biscoe School gives a junkyard look even after 22 days of flash floods.

Students and parents of this top-notch school remain, like hundreds others, clueless about this academic session with the government deciding to go ahead with the examinations with no clear policy.

"I lost my books. Nightmares related to floods haunt me still. Preparing for exams is not an easy task," said Faizan Ahmad, a class 11th student.
It seems the September 7 flood has ravaged the Valley's educational set up too. Official figures suggest that 792 school
buildings are partially damaged and 341 collapsed in the Valley.

Hundreds of students continue to remain displaced and without books at a time when the Valley academic calendar was preparing for exams up to Class 12. But the authorities have decided to go ahead with exams.

"Exams may be deferred but can't be cancelled. There will be no mass promotion. A survey to identify safe examination halls has started," said secretary education Nirmal Sharma.

However, the government decision has very few takers. "Students have suffered psychologically on the teaching front too. Threat of epidemic and diseases still looms large. It will be a wrong decision to start classes and conduct exams right now," said Dr Qazi Haroon, whose two children study at the prestigious Delhi Public School, also battling to revive itself from the devastation. The school has decided to reopen from October 13.

Another prestigious Presentation Convent, where floods damaged class rooms, is yet to decide on reopening with authorities claiming that it will take two months to restore order.

However, Tariq Mir, director education, said arrangements to reopen schools in flood-hit areas are on. "Those students of the worst-hit areas, like Bemina, Rajbagh and Jawahar Nagar schools, will be shifted to adjoining locations and will receive schooling in tents.'

Contrary, the government decision to inspect school buildings by the public works department is yet to take off. Thousands of students are yet to take their Class 10 and 12 exams in the Valley.

Kashmir's leading daily Greater Kashmir, in page-one editorial, advocated closing of schools up to March next year.
Meanwhile, Srinagar-based Coaching Centres Association (CCA) of Kashmir is offering free coaching to help flood-affected students to catch up with the syllabus.

"We have also established free book banks. Students have to get a written note from the local Imam (preacher) authenticating that a particular student was affected by flood," said CCA chairman G N Var.

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