Why Is Kashmir Education System Rendered To Mere Degrees And Grades Exercise?

by Yasir Altaf Zargar and Javid Ahmad Ahanger

Parents and teachers need to revisit their role in giving education to children but at the same time, there is a dire need for decisive reforming the structure of schools/colleges governance

Students writing their examination in Kashmir

The structures of modern-day examinations are designed in such a way that it redefines the art of memorising things. If one memorises the whole syllabus he/she takes a lead in the examination and the one who doesn’t, fails to qualify for being among the class of lead-takers.

Questions that should be asked: is examination the only yardstick for measuring the intelligence of an individual? If yes, why so? These queries demand thoughtful introspection and should encourage a debate about the overall education system that is being imparted in this part of the globe. The examinations have been designed in such a way that if one takes dig at last ten-year paper patterns, the following year paper design becomes quite easy to be conjectured. What is unfortunate about the system is that children are being pushed to follow the same suit; that if they don’t study pre-made notes, previous year papers or study in any celebrated coaching centre, they will find it trying to vie the trend of getting good marks, admission in any top schools/colleges or for that matter in Universities.

The insanity has it all; there is a toxic trend that has been pushed into this culture of education that one necessarily has to be among top ten otherwise society will have everything to look you down and eventually have you dubbed as an ‘incompetent student’ (Nakabil Shur). It has become quite ubiquitous in here, for everyone one is asking about the percentage. This Kaet Marks Aayie (how many marks did you get?), Pass Nearan Cha Wan Kudrat, Marks Gasan Aasin (passing exam is not a big deal; one should qualify with good marks) is passed on as next to normal. This myopic vision is degrading the very purpose of education and is drowning our society along.

The sad state of affairs is that we have restricted our children to marks debacle. In this unholy race of creating classes within a class, we have forgotten the basic need/purpose of education in our lives. Rather than understanding the nuanced suffering of our children we have actively engaged this system into how to get more and more marks therefore making them traumatic and their lives miserable. This system and procedure followed have pushed them beyond their limits and they end up considering education as a burden.

There are growing and glaring examples where students give in and in this, suicidal tendencies have grown manifold. Pertinent to mention here that education is not only about memorizing things but the overall growth and need for proper guidance to understand the subtleties between right and wrong—indeed more than that. However, to an utter surprise, we in Kashmir have forgotten this chapter and have been restricted to marks and grades (as system demands). We have reduced examinations to the level where people consider it as a marathon. Recently, JEE mains results were declared by the NTA and there were many students who failed to qualify. They have already been declared ‘deadwood’ by society and their fates apparently have been sealed with this exam. Irony!

Last year, a young boy had requested one of the authors to teach him Mathematics. But astonishingly student was not able to even solve the basics of what was to be taught. After analysing the problem, the author concluded that the fault lied in the way they were trained to memorize even notes for Mathematics. Although we don’t intend to label every student and teacher with the same brush, there are many who perform well by relying more on concepts rather than pre-made photocopied notes. But even the slightest of the mistake needs to be said and done away with.

As one of the authors recently went to a Xerox Shop, what he witnessed was a very sad and depressing story. A boy perhaps in his secondary class needed Political Science notes. The shopkeeper humbly handed him the notes of a particular lecturer (name withheld). Apparently, it seemed that the notes were prepared in the last decade. And unfortunately, these are the only notes that are in circulation among students for a long time.

Being a student of the Political Science, the author had witnessed to the degree of changes that the syllabus particularly for the same course has been brought to since 2009. But unfortunately, most of the lecturers/professors (not generalizing) have not scrutinized/changed their notes; rather they are circulating same old cliché/redundant notes. What is sad is there is no revision in their academic credentials; they are earning a handsome salary but not delivering up to the expectation. Many students often complain that some teachers come in the classroom without homework and usually don’t encourage students to buy books or magazines to stay updated about the new happenings around the world. Instead what is being done is the advertisement of Xerox notes and promotion of ratta-fication for the sake of encouraging students for getting marks and for promotion. This is irony.

Have you ever thought about it? Why are we not producing ‘scientists and innovators’? The fact is that we teach our children to take education for a degree with grades and marks to move to the next level every year; whether they have understood the previous yearbooks or not.

Moreover, we have reverse-engineered our examination patterns. Basically, what we do, we understand the basic structure of our examination. We prepare notes to qualify it, as these structures are designed according to the syllabus. That’s why nowadays our students keep a close view on notes. The mantra of copying notes, piling it up and memorising them only is depressing. Is this a way we build our generation? Is this a way we teach our children? Is this a way teachers/lecturer/professors should teach at school, college and university level?

However, one must not forget about those teachers who are there to change and are playing their part in and outside the system. Such teachers need to be appreciated and acknowledged for their sincerity and dedication, they have employed into teaching and encouraging students. Parents and teachers need to revisit their role in giving education to children but at the same time, there is a dire need for decisive reforming the structure of schools/colleges governance. And this is where Teacher-Parents syndicates can play an imperative role. But when is the only question?

(Yasir Altaf Zargar @Islambaduk is a web security analyst and has co-founded Shafara Creatives. Javaid Ahmad Ahanger @1947Ahanger is a Doctorate in Political Science from AMU. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)

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