HANDLE WITH CARE

For a very long time, Kashmir lacked avenues for investment. Usually it will be the real estate and the fat weddings that would devour most of the savings of the families from all economic sections. Though the priorities have remained the same, their order has changed in last two decades. Now most of the families in both rural and urban areas are investing heavily in their children’s education.
On educational front, we are encountered with three major problems – lack of timely consultancy to the parents about where their children should study (especially outside J&K), quality educational institutions within the state and a proper education policy.
Scores of professional colleges imparting in Western UP, Maharashtra and Andhra Pardesh depend on Kashmir for students. At the same time, however, there are hundreds of students whose career was destroyed by the fake institutions where from they returned with or without degrees. There is no proper consultancy available within J&K on this front.
Even though there is enviable growth in the education sector in Kashmir, we still lack quality institutions. Coupled with a faulty educational policy, the growth merely indicates numbers and not the quality. The heavier the bag of the kid, the “better” the school claims to be. Now the term system of examination in schools has created a situation where it seems that there are more examinations than class work. Now parents seem to be studying the text books more than the students.
Suicide by a tenth grader of an otherwise prestigious school was a grim reminder of the faulty educational system in vogue, and the way families chase the targets they fix for their wards. It is an eye-opener for the policy makers even though this was not the first suicide that was triggered by, what could be termed as classroom stress.
The policy makers need to identify grey areas. Monitoring mandate is not just about measuring the floor space a school requires to get registered with the directorate of school education. There has to be a strong mechanism that would also look into the quality of education that is being imparted.
But any such issue would lack credibility if the government does not review the working of the schools it runs. People may not be knowing that after police it is the education department that has most people on its rolls. Once it is revived to an extent, the state government will get moral authority to play a cop as far as the entire education sector goes. The recent suicide also hints at the inevitability of revisiting the decision of secularizing education and doing away with the moral aspect of it.

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