For any society to develop, the first and foremost prerequisite is a sound education system. The society in discussion remains cut-off from the rest of the state for around five-six months. I am talking about Ladakh. The twin districts of Kargil and Leh are governed by local administrative setup called the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.
Today, there is no dearth of educated and well-qualified local human resources that can kick-start the much-needed overhaul of the education system but for the listlessness and indifference of our leadership.
Owing to the lack of adequate number of lecturers in the Higher Secondary Schools, vacant positions for posts of lecturer in various subjects of study are filled up by employing locally available educated youths on contract basis. These youths, who are newly out of college and universities, are full of vigor and passion. They teach so as to make a difference. They teach with a purpose that no other child should be forced to go too far in search of quality education.
They know the troubles that they, their parent and families had undergone when they were sent to places like Jammu, Srinagar or Delhi and made to live in rented accommodations, eating the food cooked overnight, sleeping in the hot and humid insides of a confined space with just a fan creaking overhead and haggling with the bus conductor for the bus fare day in and day out.
They teach so that students, who have all their lives lived within the confines of the sturdy mountains, could speak with confidence if they go places for higher education and not stammer if they are made to stand in a class of 40 convent-educated pupils. And yes, they teach so that they could keep themselves in touch with something that does not glitter but is certainly not any less than gold—knowledge.
Since the number of educated youth is increasing by leaps and bounds, the education department despite issuance of a notice for conducting screening test by the director education department Dr Shah Faesal in March came out with a merit list of students who had applied for the post of contractual lecturers. After some candidates went and informed the CEO LAHDC/DC Kargil about the irregularities, it was announced that a screening test would be conducted. It won’t be out of place to make a mention of the lethargic attitude of the education department. The information about the exam was not even pasted on the Notice Boards in Kargil Bazaar.
On enquiry it was told that information regarding the exam was broadcasted on the radio. That sums up the state of education in our district. In the age of Internet and social media, our education system is living inside the cocoon of the days gone by.
When many candidates arrived at the venue of the exam it was found locked. On visiting the CEO office it was found that the exam had been postponed. And yes, you guessed it right. The information about the exam getting postponed was also broadcasted on the AIR-Kargil. This reliance on radio and shying aw ay from using latest technology is certainly a pointer to where we stand in this age.
On the eighteenth day of April, the candidates were informed that permanent lecturers had been posted against all the vacant positions. The permanent lecturers would arrive once the Zojila opens for traffic. And we, the candidates, could see the soul of education wriggling for the lack of oxygen (logic) pleading how is it fair that students of the district are kept thirsty expecting the humidity of Chashm-e-Shahi would come one day and would moisten their throats while the tSos of Ladakh keep churning salt.
In its thirteenth year of existence it is high time for LAHDC-Kargil to take a stand on the educational policy. Our leadership must understand the fact that Kargil youths have come a long way. They must have confidence in the local, educated, qualified but unemployed youths.
Anwar Hussain is a scholar hailing from Kargil.