Connection Lost


Suhail A Shah

Kashmir Life recently dedicated some pages for “Young Life” where kids can contribute their pieces of creativity. I, being a contributor living in South Kashmir, was entrusted with getting in touch with private schools here.

What transpired over the next week was saddening, heart breaking even. The first school to respond was my 4-year-old son’s. They apologized for not being able to mail and requested me to collect the material. In this age and time a school without internet and/or computer facilities is worrying and I seriously started to re-weigh my decision of enrolling my son at the school and not the other so called “better” ones.

However; over the next few days the responses from the “better” ones started to tumble. Surprisingly, they were no different. Leave alone internet facilities, these schools do not even have a single computer so that they could digitize the students’ works and mail them from somewhere else.

And then one of the administrators from my son’s school had the cheek to subtly imply that I was doing this to promote the magazine.

No sir, I am genuinely concerned about the future of the kids. Ok, my kid to be precise enough. But what’s wrong with that? Are you not entitled to provide these kids the best of the facilities in lieu of the money you charge?

Isn’t it harsh on these kids that while their contemporaries from say Chennai or Delhi are taking up citizen journalism and contributing to major news channels, these kids do not even have a computer at their school?

Interestingly, some of the private schools charge as much as my monthly salary as tuition fee from the kids. I cannot afford these schools for my son, honestly. But what about the kids who do study there? Don’t they deserve the best of the facilities and infrastructure, their fee structure being at par with the best of the schools in India?

Assigning four sets of uniforms and making it mandatory for parents to join in on picnics is going to do no good to our children.

Yes, I do agree, religious education and making kids memorize religious scriptures is important but please do not turn religion into the USP of your schools. We have full-fledged darsgah’s for the purpose, for god sake!!

Parents too have a pivotal role to play. How long are they ready to get befooled with shiny uniforms and the religion card?  They should understand the kind of competition their kids will be up to ten years from now. A computer illiterate is a literal illiterate in this age.

What is even more ironic is the government’s visible ‘soft corner’ for these money minting machines.

Our Education Minister, visibly obsessed with ‘screening tests’, has forgotten that there are Supreme Court guidelines for the private schools to be followed on fee structure, on transportation and on a wide range of things.

Mr Minister we do understand your political compulsions but this is the future of our kids at stake. Please rise a wee bit for kids’ sake.

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