Almost every student in Kashmir resents the state’s educational system.
In a conflict area like Kashmir, students suffer the most. The irregular system, as well as constant conflict, has pushed many students into depression or other mental health issues. While the rich and powerful in the state conveniently send their children to high-quality schools abroad, the middle-class has no option but to suffer at the hands of ill-equipped local schools.
I don’t know much about the education system in other states of India but I would like to share some major concerns about educational institutes in the valley:
1) There is an inadequacy of time. In universities, vacation time of 20-25 days before the exams implies that neither the teachers have enough time to complete the course nor the students have adequate time to prepare well for the first-semester exam. Earlier, during the yearly examination system, students had ample time to participate in co-curricular activities which are an essential part of their overall development. With the current semester system, very few activities are being organised for the students. Any student interested in participating must now miss their classes to do so and no attendance leeway is provided by colleges.
Another thing I noticed was that the semester system syllabus has removed a lot of topics which were essential for the course.
2) Another major problem I want to discuss here is the attitude of the teachers. I’ve seen many of them constantly demotivating students and calling them a burden on their families. Some of the teachers are even indulging in favouritism. They give good grades only to the students they like and mark the others poorly. This also discourages a lot of students from working hard.
3) Many teachers in Kashmiri schools and colleges do not have the required qualifications to be hired for a teaching position. Their specialisation, or the lack of it, is not considered.
4) The environment in schools, colleges and universities, is not conducive to studying. Students often feel like they are in jail rather than an educational institute. The system promotes a rat race that only pays attention to rote learning and aiming for high marks. This kind of pressure sometimes pushes students to commit suicide. From the very beginning, schools do not provide students with a solid foundation of learning and understanding, which carries forward through the rest of their education.
What we learn here is the craze for marks. First, we go to school. Then we have to go for coaching classes. After that, we do 2-3 hours of private tuition to help us do well in coaching classes. Once that is over, we sit and complete a large amount of homework. I can say this is not education, this is third-degree torture. In this way, the essence of true knowledge remains behind dark walls.