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, May 14, 2009

Promoting Quality Education in J&K

Iftikar says that teachers should be held responsible for the poor performance of government schools

Take them to task

Iftikar Rashid Wani

While going through various recently published newspaper articles about the performance of government schools, it seems that a rosy picture is being drawn. All those who do so forget the recent 10th and 12th class results where many government schools performed miserably low. Do our teachers recognise this failure?

It is beyond any doubt that a teacher is the soul of any education system. He is the role model for his students. He leads them from darkness to the light. He is the architect of nation’s destiny; but on ground we don’t find it so. Teachers have lowered their status by their actions, deeds and poor work culture. They have least concern for their students, indeed the recent trend has been that of exploiting the students on one pretext or other. Today’s teachers lack dedication, motivation and commitment towards their job. What happened to Midday Meals is known to all. The fact is that where and when they get chance to lay hands at a benefit they do so. In such circumstances how can one expect that they can affect the morality of their students? In Islam, or for that matter in any human civilisation, one is judged by his actions, when our actions speak otherwise how can we shape the lives of our students. It seems that the education department is just to adjust unemployed youth, whether they deserve it or not. Appointments in this department are impacted by various influences. The recent selection list of teachers at district level speaks also raised many questions in the minds of common people. The favouritism and nepotism marred the merit of the other applicants. Can we simply ignore all this mess and move ahead; off course not.

Teachers are the role models for any society and therefore remain under sharp scanner of the society. There is no comparison between teachers and those working in other departments. We all know it is the education which decides the fate of nation. Education system is the heart of any well meaning association of humans at a larger scale. Any fault in it can impede the functioning of entire system. If a flaw is found in it, it must be rectified immediately. If the performance of any particular school is not good its teaching staff should be held responsible for it. Presently teachers are getting a handsome salary; shouldn’t these teachers realize the importance of hard work. Remember in other countries it is only teaching job which one hardly gets because there are so many tests and other procedure to check the mental abilities of the applicants. They treat the job as their baby and nourish it with their blood and sweat. But here education department is served by those who find no other department to work in. What can one expect from such teachers?

There is Rehbari Taleem scheme where a person with PhD is found competing with a matriculate. Isn’t it ironical? Who is responsible for this mess? I do accept that we have a many teachers who work very hard to achieve the goals; the goal to educate the youth. But it is shameful that majority of teachers are not attending their jobs the way they should. Take the example of teacher training. Here only those teachers are deputed who fail to grease the palm of clerks because others remain busy in imparting private coaching during the training period. This way the very purpose of training is defeated because those who are really capable of benefitting from that do not attend the training. On the other hand there are teachers who have passed NET, SLET but are teaching at primary school level. How can they benefit the society when they are wrongly placed?

The lack of interest from parents aggravates the problem. The performance of the students is also a factor contributing to the motivation of teachers. In the absence of parental supervision students perform poorly and consequently it affects the motivation of teachers; thus spoiling the whole scheme of things. Nowadays the concept of tri-polar process, in which teachers, students and parents are the stake holders, is quite popular. Even if a teacher works very hard on his students the low level of participation from parents leads to poor results.

Another facet of the problem is the atmosphere of our schools. Generally we wait for government to improve it by pumping in more money. But teachers at their level can manage things to a good extent. Why should they wait for external funds for managing a small library and a laboratory? There are certain provisions under which they can purchase many things to inculcate scientific temperament among those poor and helpless students. It is high time teachers make sincere efforts to evolve a new model fully realising their responsibilities, and work for the good of this nation.

(Rising Kashmir)

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