Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can any "Meticulous Scheme" to Save Education System Work When Name of the Game is Civil Curfew?

The Governor pleaded with the civil society during the uprising to allow schools and college to stay open - but his arguments fell on deaf ears. That was then, and this is now ...

Save education - an Editorial in the Rising Kashmir

A meticulously designed scheme is needed to save the education system of valley from getting derailed

From June onwards we have been facing an unusual situation that has affected every aspect of life in Kashmir. Now that the elections have been announced, there is likelihood of disturbance extending by another two months. Thus an immediate end to the present crisis is not in sight. Since life has to move, our system has to make certain changes so that the collective engagements remain least affected. One of such engagements in the modern times is the education. The immediate fall out of the present situation was that the class work at our schools, colleges and universities got immensely affected. With the prime of the education season severely affected by strikes, curfew and protests, the movement of syllabus was extremely slow.

Now the immediate and the most important question before the concerned authorities is to cover the maximum possible portion of the syllabus and make sure that exams were held in time. Normally, we resort to easy alternatives. We either curtail the syllabus or postpone the exams. Changing the session of exams has been tried even before, but after a year or two, realisation dawned that except derailing the entire schedule class sessions and exams, it didn’t do any good. Since some people have again started talking about delaying the exams or opting for March-session, we need to remind ourselves the past experiences. If that is any guide, we may not even put that as the last choice.

We have been a witness to what happened as a result of turmoil during 90s. During that period our education system witnessed the most severe crisis. The whole system fell apart and the very concept of education being an organised activity came to an end. Relationship between teacher and student underwent such a shift that it lost its fundamental character. The time lost in those yeas was a collective loss and can never be compensated. But the advantage of hindsight should guide us this time. Expert opinion need to be summoned for devising an effective strategy. May be syllabi for various classes needs a bit of pruning without affecting the larger subject scheme, duration of classes increased and some changes made in the question papers and date sheet; this can to a large extent compensate for the loss.

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