Schools in Kashmir to reopen Monday, 6 months after Art 370 was scrapped
Schools will open on Monday after winter vacations in Kashmir where students have remained away from classes for over six months since the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 last year.
Earlier attempts by government to get students back to schools from August 19 mostly failed but with the start of new academic session the officials said they are hopeful this time of the return of academic activity in the educational institutions owing to the positive response of parents, students and school administrations.
“Everything is ready and everyone is positive about the opening of schools. Parents and civil society have contributed while the teachers as well as students are motivated a lot,” said Director, School Education Kashmir, Mohammad Younis Malik.
He said that the timing for the schools falling within the Srinagar’s municipal limits will be 10:00 am to 3 pm while in rest of Kashmir division timing will be 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.
Students and their parents this time are upbeat about reopening of schools. Some school administrations have also informed the students beforehand about the schedule of opening and the timing of bus facilities.
“Politically and economically, Jammu and Kashmir lost a lot since August 5. Our kids lost educationally and now it will be prudent to arrest further loss by sending our wards to schools,” said Haseena Maqbool, mother of two school going children.
“I have kept the uniforms of my children ready. They also had a haircut. I just hope that things remain calm,” she said.
There are some 13800 schools across the valley where some 1.2 million students study.
The schools, colleges and universities across Kashmir valley were closed when Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and put the region under a security lockdown and a communication blackout. Though the restrictions were subsequently eased but a spontaneous shutdown against the decision had continued in the valley for months.
On August 19, the government had opened the primary schools in all the areas where restrictions were removed. Two days later, middle schools were also thrown open but most of parents avoided sending their children to schools owing to uncertain situation. Parents would argue that they didn’t want to put the lives of their children at stake when there was no communication and the situation was not normal.
Like primary and middle schools, majority of the high school students also did not turn up to attend their classes on August 28 nor did the higher secondary and college students from October 3 and 9 respectively.
Though the teachers showed up in majority of the prominent schools particularly in government institutions, the classrooms remained mostly empty till December 10 when government announced winter vacations. However, most of the students prepared at their homes and had appeared for the examinations that were held in October and November.
Ahead of Monday’s opening, teachers attended schools on Saturday and many have been directed to beautify the schools with balloons and buntings.
“We are preparing a warm welcome for the students. They should feel enthusiastic on their first day,” said Saqib Ahmad, a teacher of a government school in Srinagar.
Director Malik said that the students are upbeat because of the good results in exams despite the situation. “We tried our best for remedial teaching. During winter we conducted tutorials in winter coaching camps where some 2 lakh students attended,” he said.
From this academic session, the number of days has been increased under Right to Education. “From 180 academic days earlier, now we will have 200 days for primary and 210 days for upper primary classes,” Malik said.
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