November 2, 2016
WITH the examinations only a couple of weeks away, students in Kashmir, particularly those appearing in 10th and 12th classes are in a state of frustration and confusion. They feel to be left in a lurch by the authorities over the pattern under which the examinations are to be conducted. After the announcement of the dates for conduction of the examinations for 10th and the 12th classes, the government has not given even a slightest hint on their seriousness about the plan, which they so ambitiously and so cannily announced when chaos in Kashmir had not ended. There have been assurances from authorities that the student’s genuine inhibitions and concerns would be taken care of and steps would be taken so that all are accommodated. One felt like getting convinced after the government announcement about extending a helping hand with genuine considerations and that the examination process would be taken to a logical end with everybody on board.
However, it is really unfortunate that the government has forgotten its promises made to the students. It looks as if their only duty was to announce the examination schedules and issuance of the date sheets, leaving the rest to be managed by the students and their parents. The assurances from education authorities that curtailment will be shortly announced seem to be a forgotten affair. Students are aghast over continued silence of the authorities and are in a fix about preparing their lessons. Most of them they have not been able to study in the schools or private tuitions for almost four months now.
Some ten days back, a top official of the Board of School Education in a radio interview announced that the education department was in the process of finalizing the nature and amount of relaxation for the examinations to be given to the students. The official said with emphasis that everything possible will be done so that students do not feel let down. The official said that the board was in constant consultation with all the CEOs and the other concerned officials and everything would be finalized in a couple of days and announced accordingly. That was more than 10 days ago. After that there was no official word from authorities which has left students guessing and speculate. With examinations only two weeks away, the unending wait is only adding to the level of frustration of the students.
The attitude of authorities is not adding any plusses to their referred sincerity about going ahead with examination despite a large section of the society showing expressing their reservations to the idea. With the ground situation in Kashmir showing considerable improvement and the level of violence almost coming down to zero, government has not shown any urgency to cash in on the improvement and try to infuse some confidence among the students, who have ultimately, and unwillingly submitted to the government decision of going on with the examinations as per the dates announced.
Mere announcement of datasheets does not absolve the government from its duties and commitment towards the students. Students have been literally subjected to a confinement within the four walls of their homes for last four months. With internet off and telephone services cut, situation has been distressing for them and has taken a toll on the way they think.
Growing incidents of torching school buildings is adding a new dimension of anguish in the minds of the students in particular and the public in general. The government has failed to stop these mindless acts of arson and attacks on educational institutions. The situation is so baffling that everybody is accusing everybody for the devastating acts. The government as it is failing to stop the carnage is emerging as one of the accused.
The government could have taken measures to protect the schools by deploying security personnel on the premises. Doesn’t the government ask for additional forces to quell the unrest or the protests or safeguarding the vital installations? Why does it fall short of the security when it comes to providing it to the educational institutions? Aren’t the educational institutions as important as other installations where security is taken as of paramount importance?
With authorities not showing any signs of offering a healing touch to the students, the feeling getting home is that the government is using the examinations and education payback the people for protesting against it. Government must immediately announce whatever it can regarding the nature of the concessions to nullify the feeling that they are indulged in revenge politics to settle scores with Kashmiris. The student community is boiling with anger and desperation, and any mishandling at this juncture may prove as final nail in the coffin.
When the same PDP-BJP government, along with New Delhi and the whole Indian media, could come to the rescue of a handful of non local students of the NIT Srinagar, who not only had indulged in hooliganism but had challenged the very authority of the NIT administration and of the state, why show a different standard for our own lot.