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.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Education Without Learning

Ishfaq wonders if enough is being done to bring about improvement in the quality of education

(Syed Ishfaq Noor is a teacher at the Government Middle School in Mir Mohalla Hygam Zone, Sopore.) 

Towards Quality Education

Quality education is possible when academic support in terms of quality resource persons at zonal, District and state levels is made available. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (universal education programme) helped bring 20 million children into school. It also plans to quadruple the number of universities to 1,500 in 10 years. In the last ten years, there have been tremendous strides in the field of education in Jammu & Kashmir despite its abysmal educational sector. But the question is, ‘have we fulfilled the fundamental goal of education i.e. Quality education’?

The population of children in a country makes up its human resource for the future. The social, economic and cultural growth and development of any society hinges upon the quality of its human resource. Three and a half decades after the adoption of the National Policy for Children, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram allocated the seemingly huge amount of Rs. 34,400 crores exclusively to the education sector in his Annual Budget last fiscal year. The much-hyped Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was granted a handsome Rs. 13,100 crore in the year 2008-2009 Policy makers have devised good schemes under the banner of widening access to quality education at pre-primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Now the question is `are these schemes really implemented at grass root level or are they thrown into dustbins by our much hyped CEOs and ZEOs. Quality education is missing in our education system. This calls for a paradigm shift in our perception of the goals of education.

In District Baramulla about 60 ReT teachers, with teaching experience between 2-6 years, work as ZRPs and CRPs for SSA. If the government circular requires teaching experience of more than 15 years for fulfilling of the said vacancy, then why is it so? Can they impart quality education? Do they really provide academic support to the schools? These deputations and unnecessarily deployments and amalgamation of schools have deteriorated the foundations of our education system. On the other side deputation or deployment of ReT teachers is in complete violation of SSA norms.

An education that fails to inculcate basic values in the people is worse than ignorance and illiteracy. It is time we change our attitude to achieve wonders in revamping our education system. All of us should join hands and focus on one cause so that there will be a perceptible change in the quality of education.

The resource person should be a person with an iron will. Apart from knowledge of his subject, he should have a thorough knowledge of approach to life, national goals, history, geography, basic sciences, current affairs, and he should be well equipped with modern scientific techniques and national and international policies. He should stand before the child like a learned saint and be able to satisfy all queries of the child.

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