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Kashmir school promises classes during curfews

india Updated: Nov 25, 2010 01:03 IST
Peerzada Ashiq
Peerzada Ashiq
Hindustan Times
Peerzada Ashiq

In a place where going to class has become a rare privilege for the past five months, one school in Srinagar is determined to impart education every day, come what may.

Whether there is curfew clamped by the Jammu and Kashmir government or a shutdown called by the separatists, the Sarfi Memorial Institute has decided to provide education during unrest and turmoil.

"We have decided to have lodging and boarding facilities in the same building where classes will be organised. In the past, we gave priority to quality teachers. This time, we recruited four teachers only on the promise that they would work during nights and stay here," institute administrator Muhammad Ashraf told HT.

The school has been advertising on local TV channels and newspapers that it would provide education even during prolonged periods of turmoil.

Education has taken a big hit in the Kashmir since the last phase of unrest began following the death of a schoolboy in Srinagar on June 11.

Since March, there has been a huge drop in attendance at schools, particularly in Srinagar and other separatist-dominated towns, with parents not letting their children go to school or college for fear of violence on days of curfew or shutdowns.

"Kashmir faces a peculiar situation. For the past three years, it has witnessed consistent and prolonged protests. We, as a society, have to respond accordingly," said Ashraf. His school has constructed a new 60-room building with classrooms that have residential facilities. The school is receiving a large number of queries from parents on how the school would run during curfew and street protests.

Kashmir has very few boarding schools as most parents prefer non-residential schools.

The state government has also woken up to the educational needs of students who could not attend classes this summer. It has reduced the annual syllabus for board exams this year and plans to organise post-examination classes on lessons and chapters dropped from the syllabus.

"The decision has been taken keeping in view the losses suffered by students of the Valley due to the unrest since June 11," said minister for school education Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed.