The education sector in Kashmir has seen a drastic change over the past years. Despite the fact that government of India has introduced number of literacy programme and many other literacy campaigns one third of state’s population is illiterate. Every year huge investment is made by the government so as to improve infrastructure in schools. But this is very disappointing to see number of government schools and colleges without facilities that are required to push the education sector from the old rugged system to the ever growing state of the art pattern. The ratio of school going girls has declined only due to lack of basic health facilities in the government schools and colleges. The irony is that no one is ready to admit their children in government schools. The teachers and the other staff are highly qualified and are drawing a healthy amount of salaries from the government but quality education has become a distant dream. The government schools follow the same out dated curriculum and teaching methodology which is of no use in present innovative world. Fear of severe punishments from the teachers has become another nightmare for the students with the result illiteracy rate have increased. Sense of morality is sacrosanct for the teachers as well as for the students. It is a sense of morality that will awaken the sense of humanity in an individual. Students should learn these things from their teachers which are their role model .But these things seems less important to the teachers. Tolerance level and intellect bend of mind is seen lacking in them. Habit of listening is a considered healing for the one who is speaking. Our teachers have become a very bad listener and our students have turned dumb. Nobody is ready to give them a patient hearing. With the result they have become distracted and disinterested. Majority of teachers are seen disinterested in teaching. They are teaching either for the monetary purpose or are there by default. Passion dedication is totally absent among many teachers with the result every year our schools drop out ratio is alarmingly increasing. Our youth needs vision and credible guidance from the teachers. Above all they need an example which in our education system is none.
Not only has this but the present political situation and turmoil across the valley become an apparent cause of illiteracy in Kashmir. Corruption and favoritism in the government sector is on the other hand very discouraging for these poor people. Society at large is also playing its part towards illiteracy. Number of young boys has to quit school only to support their families. On the other hand many parents want to marry their daughters early so as to ease their burden. Discrimination among upper class and lower class has created a barrier for poor students to get stress free education. It is not that teaching fraternity in the education sector especially in the government is completely responsible for the mess this sector is in, the other factors especially the apathy on the part of government and the bureaucratic setup have a nasty hand which cannot be ruled out. To bring this sector back on rails we need some tough decision making at the top level and some brushing and combing at each level so that the education in real sense is imparted to the children in the most relevant manner. This sprucing at each level should not include the government, bureaucrat and teachers alone but also the parents, civil society, intellectuals, media and the students themselves. In addition to the changes and improvements that need to be taken care of in the system on the fronts involving teachers, government, students etc, we need thorough revamp in the infrastructure also. The modern techniques with modern equipments and gadgetry need to be employed for adopting unconventional teaching practices. The airy and spacious classrooms with sufficient lighting and comfortable heating arrangements will have to be put in place to give a sense of comfort to the students and to make their learning more attractive. Proper curriculum with the latest teaching methods and the facilities of modern libraries, laborites and computer labs are imperative in the contemporary educational setup. The ease of access to the internet and a contact through interschool competition, symposia are some add-ons that would keep the students glued and enhance the interest of the students and teachers in the process. The need of the hour is not only to focus on books and blackboard but to imbibe the new technology in to the system that along with the general line studies would expand the imagination and intellect of the students
(The writer is a research scholar)