by Suhail Mehraj
When we seriously intend to overhaul and bring a substantial positive change in any sector, umpteen hiccups and ordeals begin to creep in our mind. These hurdles indeed dampen our zeal when we seriously ponder to improve the things, but facing and overcoming these ordeals with much confidence is what is needed to succeed in our efforts. What it requires is a good strategy and intense will of society to make things work. We need the same strategy and intense will to improve our ailing education system.
There is no denying the fact that our education system is in shambles and needs to be revamped, but so far we have failed to do so. To bring an impressive change in this very vital sector, successive Governments and the concerned department (Ministry) have miserably failed to suggest and implement any impressive reforms so as to bring the education back on the track. There have been enough debates and blame games related to enhancing quality of education in Jammu and Kashmir, but these debates and blame games hardly yield anything positive. It needs practical efforts from all the stakeholders. Every citizen of the state has a role to play in this regard.
During my recent trip to the United Nations, where I represented J&K, I came to know how much focus developed world puts on improvement of education system.
But in our world, the utter lack of accountability is the main cause of pathetic state of our education system. By accountability I mean every individual entrusted to impart education or those who manage educational institutes should be held accountable. Accountability is a mean to achieve the dream of quality education. Everyone has a part to play to ensure good results.
Role of youth
I strongly believe that youth has a leadership role to play in addressing this concern. They are the torchbearers of social reforms. As far as Kashmiri society is concerned youth are still in slumber and confused. We haven’t responded effectively to repeated wake ups calls. But now we must realize it is getting too late. We can’t afford to be mute spectators anymore. We can’t see our motherland getting vandalized. Every youth can initiate the noble step of educating the less privileged in his immediate vicinity by developing of E-D-U-clubs and encouraging and involving students in learning activities. Parents must form their core groups to look into the working of a schools and its management.
During my various interactions with the students in remote areas, I found that our institutions don’t focus on the basic learning.
Our students don’t possess a basic learning level. Our students see education only through the prism of examination. We need to expose our students to the international atmosphere. We must link our education intuitions to some prestigious institutions around the globe. We need to connect our class rooms to the field. Need to place our students in national and international debates and discussions. This all will lead a positive impact. We need to motivate students for learning. Need to bow the seeds of zest for learning.
All of us need to join hands together to ensure that every student is getting good quality of education. Believe me it’s youth who are going to bring a change. We have to act like pressure groups for education institutes to perform rather than boycotting classes every now and then.
I know many people would have different opinions, but it’s only education that is going to rescue us. Everything else can wait, even development can wait, we can manage if we don’t have good roads, power and water supply, but we cannot manage without proper education. We must look how education is functioning in our vicinity. If the question is subjected to infrastructure and availability of teachers in schools, we must intervene, not to create controversy. But to expose options of possibilities, by joining hands.
During my stay at UN I got to meet some of the Youth Leaders from Syria. They told me their education has suffered a tremendous loss, schools and colleges are damaged due to airstrikes. Now they have turned religious places into educational institutions. On the other hand our schools colleges and universities are still safe. Only thing is we have to make them lively by attending regular classes, discussions and debates. If Syrians can do all this for education, why can’t we? We need to give utmost priority to education
I would be glad to see people take part in this noble cause. Look, a doctor and engineer doing volunteer’s work for education sounds healthier. I’m sure if they would do so; this surely is going to lead us to a positive change. Our students would feel encouraged and cared. Our religious leaders, ulemas have a role to play and they must make people aware about the paramount importance of education. They must hold meetings, use masjid pulpits for this very purpose. Religious leaders play a role in capacity building of teacher community for being sincere and honest towards their job. Education is the most powerful weapon which youth of Kashmir can use to bring in change. Look at leaders of 20th century like Mahatma Gandhi, Alama Iqbal, and Moulana Azad. They all left their native places in search of light (education) and fought for their people as well after being enlightened.
(Suhail Mehraj is a second year student BA (Political Science) at Amarsingh College, Srinagar. He represented Jammu and Kashmir at 22 session of Youth Assembly at UN 2018)