Academics, netizens tell minister to ‘Stop being Egoistic, consider ground situation’
The J&K government has come under severe criticism for “being adamant” on conducting Class 10th and 12th examinations in November despite the student’s refusal to appear in the tests amid the ongoing uprising in Kashmir.
Interestingly, the Minister for Education Naeem Akhtar on Sunday took to social networking site Facebook to announce that there was “no plan” to postpone 10th and 12th class exams any further.
“All the students and parents who called me insisted that exams must go on in accordance with the published date sheet. That is the decision of the government as well,” he wrote on his Facebook page. The exams have been scheduled from mid-November, but much to the annoyance of the students who haven’t completed their syllabi in the wake of now three-month-long uprising in Kashmir.
“Let the students remain focused on studies and prepare vigorously for exams on the due date,” the minister wrote.
However he was instantly slammed by netizens who came down heavily on the government for “using the career of students for their political gains.”
“You have totally made us your political toys. Why don’t you accept the reality? Parents and children who called you might have went (sic) outside during this turmoil and are now claiming from outside,” Suhail Mehraj replied to Akther’s post.
Another FB user Gurpreet Singh Shaant, replied: “The students of Class 10th and 12th will not be able to score good in their exams, which you are willing to hold in next month because not even 40% of the syllabus is complete. Then what is the worth of these exams. This clearly shows that you just want us to pass the exams because you need to depict normalcy in the valley.”
“I request you to at least hold a dialogue with the stakeholders and especially the students so that some desirable result comes out and not force exams on students as their career will become vulnerable to some undesirable effects,” Gurpreet said.
The minister’s statement came at a time when students’ associations, in their memorandum to Board of School Education—the exam conducting authority—have already sought deferment of exams till March next year.
On the other hand, teachers have also opposed the government’s move to conduct the exams in November, saying “it will have adverse consequences” in view of the prevailing situation in Kashmir.
“The government is taking the decision in haste without considering its repercussions. They couldn’t open schools in the past three months and how they will conduct exams in one month,” said a school Principal posted in district Kupwara.
He accused the government of “taking lives of teachers and students for granted.”
“Holding examinations in November amid unrest will worsen the situation. The Government is non-serious about the issue. There is no point being adamant on holding the exams. The Government must consider the ground situation as well,” he said.
Already, National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah—after holding the opposition parties’ meeting here—has asked the government to reconsider its decision of holding the exams in November.
“Government is threatening students to appear in exams at a time when educational institutions remained shut for more than three and a half months. Students are not ready to sit in exams scheduled in November,” he told media-persons after the meeting in Srinagar on Friday.
While the conduct of examination has become a bone of contention between the students and the Education department, officials said the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was “personally monitoring” the issue.
“After facing continuous protests by students and criticism from all quarters CM was keenly looking into the issue. There are chances of deferment of exams to March,” said a senior official in state administration, wishing not to be named. “Government is facing a lot of flak on the issue.”
Meanwhile, academicians lambasted the Education Minister for “making exams a personal issue, without considering the student grievances.”
“The Education Minister is trying to be more loyal than the king. He should not be so adamant on holding the exams in November. He should consider this issue very passionately without involving his personal ego,” said former Secretary BOSE, Bashir Ahmad Dar.
“Children have already put forward their grievances and demanded deferment of exams. So there is no need to make it a point of prestige which will adversely affect the children.”
He said the government should first look at statutes of BOSE and count the number of days the students attended in their schools.
“As per BOSE regulations, students must have covered 75 percent syllabus in 180 working days which makes them eligible to sit in the exams. But this year they have not attended more than 80 days in schools. The Minister should examine the conditions laid down for sitting in the exams,” Dar said. “He can’t compel a child to come for exams without preparation. In this situation students will either resort to copy or fail.”
Meanwhile, Akther, on his part, said: “As of now there is no plan to modify the exam dates.”
He however didn’t divulge whether any deliberations are on to delay the exams. “I don’t want to share that with you,” he said.