Empty Classrooms to Fill Up Again: Kashmir’s Schools Finally Reopen 

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Children from the Valley look forward to returning back to the once vibrant school classroom. Representative Image

One of the most badly affected sections of the population in the aftermath of any civil crisis or war is often children. This holds all the more true for the children of Jammu and Kashmir whose lives have come to a total standstill in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 and the revoking of the special constitutional status that the erstwhile state had enjoyed. Children have not been able to continue their academic pursuits as the schools have remained largely closed and have seen meagre attendance in the days following August 4. After several months of remaining closed, the 10 lakh students of the Kashmir Valley will don their school uniform for the first time and go to school. The schools are opening from today onwards after a three month long winter break and a seven month long disruption in the aftermath of the Centre’s decision to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.

Fear, Uncertainty and a Loss of Precious Time

The uncertainty that captured the Kashmir Valley made everything come at a standstill. The schools remained largely closed. The standstill also affected school bus services which too was badly affected in the communication blockade. Parents preferred to keep their children inside homes and avoided sending them outside unless extremely necessary in the fear of clashes that could break out in the streets any moment.The Jammu and Kashmir administration did try to re-start the classes in work in phases from October last year onwards but failed to see a healthy attendance trend owing to the ongoing tensions in Kashmir.

It is high time the children of Kashmir return back to their classrooms and cherish the beautiful moments of learning with their peers. The administration of the Valley and the Centre owe it to to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and to the future of lakhs of children whose lives were terribly affected by the political crisis. Kashmir is known to have 11,633 educational institutions, including 810 middle schools, 247 high schools and 37 higher secondary schools. All administrative efforts have been made to send the children to school and it is indeed its responsibility to ensure the they are given a sound and safe academic environment in the classrooms and what they have lost is made up for through sustained institutional mechanisms.

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