BY HAROON RASHI BHAT
We are part of the globalization process, we can’t run alone on the track, giving this or that reason. Instead of highlighting our deficiencies, we should focus on overcoming those deficiencies and provide a conducive environment for this new academic session”
The debate and discussion about whether to go with March or November session ended. Now the government has taken a final call and shifted the examination session from November to March intending to sync the academic calendar of J&K with the National Academic Calendar. There is always an agreement or disagreement on the decisions. Those who expressed their disagreement about the decision put forward their reasons. Those who spoke or write against it gave the main reason – the harsh weather condition in Kashmir. According to them, this move can prove detrimental. As I am directly associated with the education department, I faced many questions and mixed reactions regarding the order. Most of the time, I preferred to listen to others’ reactions or opinions. Recently I had an interaction with a parent who has his reasons to support this decisions-March Session. Let me quote here the part of his speech “Sir if a student can cover long distances to attend his/her coaching classes during winter; why shouldn’t he/she attend the regular classes in his/her school? There was a time when roads were blocked for weeks and months, school buildings were mostly in poor shape in terms of infrastructure, and students were struggling hard for proper school dress –clothes, shoes, etc. Now the situation has changed. It looks awkward to keep educational institutions locked for three months. We are part of the globalization process, we can’t run alone on the track, giving this or that reason. Instead of highlighting our deficiencies, we should focus on overcoming those deficiencies and providing a conducive environment for these new academic sessions. How far do we make our climatic conditions a hurdle for our actions?” These are the arguments and counterarguments about this particular order. Now the basic question is what reformative measures we can take to give pragmatic shape to this New Academic Session. Let me submit a few suggestions here.
Proper infrastructure: so far as the basic infrastructure is concerned at the university, college, or higher secondary level, there is proper infrastructure in place to a large extent but at elementary, Middle, and high school levels there is a lack of infrastructure. There are schools where the students still sit on the floor with poor mating, there are situations where more than two classes are sharing one classroom.
Proper Heating System: keeping the harsh weather conditions of the valley in view, there must be a proper heating system in place in schools; geysers in washrooms. Government must invest to develop a proper heating system without compromising the health, hygiene and safety of students.
The flexibility of School and Class timing: because of the new session, the number of academic months increases. now the class work will be extended up to Mid-December. Therefore, the school timing must be adjusted according to weather conditions and class timing must be reduced.
Winter Uniform: Either the school authorities should allow students to wear informal dresses as per their availability or provide them with proper winter Uniforms.
Need to work in coordination: In this postmodern phase of human life where information technology impacted every sphere of life. The need of the hour is to take full advantage of it. There is a Meteorological department that predicts the weather condition. Educational institutions can frame the date sheet for the upcoming examinations for different classes. The climatic prediction and guidelines given by the concerned department from time must be given due consideration while designing any future academic calendar.
Ensure safe and proper access: Referring to the previous experience concerning the climatic conditions here in March, it is mostly rainy or snowy. In case of harsh weather conditions, It is the responsibility of the government to give safe passage or access to students to schools or examination centers.
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher and columnist, can be reached at email@example.com.