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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Quantity Gained is the Quality Lost

We called it once the "dirty little secret" of the Education Department because of the sheer size of B. Ed production factory in Kashmir.

B Ed Blues

Any wrong practice in B Ed colleges can bring disrepute to the institution of education in Kashmir

The allegations made by a group of north Indian students, who are pursing B Ed course, about the mass copying are deeply disturbing and doff putting. The students allege that the concerned authorities have made promises with them of being allowed mass copying in the examination centre as a huge amount of money has been paid by the students in the form of boarding, lodging and admission in the respective colleges. In order to better the educational standards and to expand the base of educational sector in Kashmir it was a conscious step taken by educational authorities to attract students from other states to Kashmir.

B Ed course was on top of the list that attracted huge number of students from outside J&K. It was an encouraging sign that those who perused this course in the colleges of the Valley were very satisfied with the way they received training and their degrees mattered a lot in their respective states. This was one of the reasons that Valley saw flourishing of B Ed colleges. A huge rush of students from various states of India came to valley despite media in India projecting the image of Kashmir as a zone full of violence.

But all this seemed to have adversely affected the quality of education in our B Ed colleges. In an attempt to earn more money, people running these colleges started compromising many things. If the allegation of students that mass copying is encouraged to send this message across that even if students don’t attend their classes and also don’t work hard they can get the degree certificate, is true then it is a matter that needs to dealt with seriously. If the concerned authorities don’t give heed to it, it will be their tacit approval to whatever wrong practices have crept in these colleges.

Also, while it is important to looking into the matter as early as possible, there is infact urgency to bring the truth to the fore. The higher officials in the education department must not exhibit a lackadaisical approach while dealing with this matter and if something wrong is found the authorities should take strict possible action against the culprits. Besides, if need arises the registration of such colleges should be canceled permanently as it involves the prestige of our state. Whosoever tries to damage that prestige should be dealt with an iron hand.

(Rising Kashmir)

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