Ovais Gora/Umar Hayat
With the dawn of modern age children are laden with heavy burden called ‘competition’ in Kashmir. Inception of educational odyssey has inculcated the notion of staying one step ahead in them. Even for admission in elementary classes, their innocent faces are countenanced with the colossal competition. To prepare and mould these children into a strong rival, Parents admit them in the crèches.
Since the last decade, crèches are mushrooming at a fast pace in the valley. These institutes claim to provide quality preliminary education and over all personality development which would help them to cope up with the cut-throat competition lurking in the corners of their future.
Although it is a novel concept of educating the tender ones but it has its own ‘dark shades’. Under the brightness of education, experts say, children are gloomed with the deprivation of the childhood.
“Mother’s lap is the first school for a child,” says Mushtaq Shah, a crèche teacher from Srinagar’s Qamarwari, “but due to paucity of the time by working mothers presently, they send their kids to crèche for care and education.”
We try our best to provide them the same love and care which a mother would provide, continues Shah, “but there is no debate that mothers love is irreplaceable.”
Parents pass on the hat of responsibility to these crèches so that their hands are vacant for doing jobs.
“If we consider the current inflation in the market, we have no other option but to work so as to make ends meet,” says Ateeqa, mother of crèche going child. “Therefore sole option for us is to send our children to these crèches during our working hours. But it is not the sole purpose, as a responsible parent we believe that our children gets proper guidance there and are well prepared for facing the school admission interviews.”
But experts claim that sending a very young child to these crèches is squarely affecting their mental and physical health.
Prof Aadil Bashir of Kashmir University’s Social Welfare Department says introduction of crèches is a novel concept but it is a wrong way to educate children at a very tender age. “It is better if child gets his early moral and religious education from their parents rather than crèches, because it’ll also strengthen the bonding between them,” he says.
Childhood is now replaced by the crèche-hood, Prof Bashir continues, children’s brains are not yet ready to read and learn, crèche system is like forced education.
“The moral and religious teaching which a child can learnt from their parent’s at home will not leant in these crèche schools,” he says.
Prof Bashir says, the individual attention which a child needs at this age will not be provided by the teachers which have to take care of lot of students studying collectively there, mostly not being aware of the child psychology.