With Wisdom, Comes Humility.

We know, education is the empowerment that the youth need for a better future of their own as well as their nation and this job is nobly done by a teacher. The teaching has been considered to be the noblest job, and why not, we have every reason to call it so. Before the advent of cluster of private school system, government schools were at full bloom. Most of the marvels came from such government schools, unlike today. Then what has gone wrong that the ‘marvel producing institutions’ have become barren. Who is to be blamed? Sorry to say, but the teachers of government schools have already earned a bad name, which they need to do away with and work a little harder. Education is the means to attain a goal which is progress and teachers make an enduring impact in the lives of students. The greatest of the arts is teaching since the medium is the human mind and spirit. Teachers are the heroes of our society and often called as “builders of nation”. They take the challenge of creating and shaping worlds. The teachers while teaching touch the future of the child. Thus the eligibility for becoming a teacher needs to suffice the strength to take-on such a challenge.

The global economic crunch has forced the youth into darkness and in every country the unemployment has become the biggest menace/headache. But the filling up of posts for the job of teacher needs not to be seen through the prism of policy decisions for reducing unemployment, because in case the less competent persons become the teachers it will serve no good purpose and will add numbers to the unemployment problem by producing less competent students. Our state of Jammu and Kashmir is not an exception. But the rising rate of corruption has marred the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir.

The competence of a teacher must not be compromised. The future of a nation depends on the excellence of the teachers, who nourish the growing buds. So the teachers’ competence must be scrutinized prior to letting them to assume such a noble job. The government’s order of conducting screening test for the Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers came late but it is a justified move. The case of Faisal Khan Vs. State and others, was an eye opener. A teacher who is not able to write an essay on Cow and cannot solve 4th standard mathematical numerical, do not deserve to be a teacher. Such teachers need to be fished out and shown the door. During a recent protest of teachers, I found them holding placards that had ‘time bound’ spelled as ‘time bond’, which definitely was not a typing mistake. The argument that ReT teachers put forth in their support is that they have been the key factor in increasing the literacy rate in the state, but I must tell those ReT teachers that a herd of students is not what is needed, but what we need to produce is quality students who can compete at all international and national levels. And with such teachers who do not know the difference between ‘bound’ and ‘bond’ or cannot write an essay on Cow, for sure are not eligible to be called or appointed as teachers.

The screening test that has been announced by the government is not any sort of a competitive test at the end of which only a few will be selected. If all of the ReT teachers are capable and competent then they must not be afraid of any such test, and should voluntarily commit themselves for it, to prove their mettle. The argument that by imposing such a test on the ReT teachers the government is adamant to lower their self esteem is a farce, instead by doing so your credibility and worth will get bloomed. Here your credibility is at stake, and Pardon me, but by not sitting in the test you are bringing disgrace to yourselves, by your own.

At first place, the post of ReT is a disgrace to the education system of Jammu and Kashmir. It is highly unfortunate that the government has lowered the status of a teacher by setting the minimum qualification required to be an ReT teacher at 10+2, which is same for the post of a peon or a class 4th employee, thereby sabotaging the appointment through genuine rule of general line system. A government which believes more in governance than in government will never do so, as it is an anti-society policy, which for a moment seemed to be benefiting but for the long run would ruin the quality of education in Jammu and Kashmir and eventually the future. The encumbrances of responsibilities do not end with the ReT teachers. Government has to accept its responsibility as well. ReT teachers were engaged according to certain rules and regulations under which only after the satisfactory results from such teachers they were to be regularized, and the same was done when the stipulated time of 5 years elapsed. Now after 5 years, the government wants to conduct their competency test which means something went wrong at the basic level where ReT’s were allotted the satisfaction certificates. The precious 5 years of the ReT teachers cannot be overlooked. If the government is resolute in taking the test and revolutionizing the education system then the ReT teachers need to be compensated for the previous 5 years as the earlier contract becomes null and void. And at the end if deadwood is found among these ReT teachers then the officers who allotted certificates to them need to be punished, accordingly.

Such innovative and revolutionary steps are always welcome and everyone needs to offer his helping hand so that the foreseen goal is achieved. An education system is needed that shall enhance the creativity and imagination of the students. This step of conducting screening test will surely help in travelling the long journey but there are still many more milestones that need to be crossed.

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Education in government schools.

We know, education is the empowerment that the youth need for a better future of their own as well as their nation and this tough job is nobly done by a teacher. The teaching has been considered to be the noblest job that a person can do, and why not, we have every reason to call it so. Numerous scientists, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, etc are being produced since inception, by teachers. Before the advent of cluster of private school system, government schools were at full bloom. Most of the marvels came from such government schools. unlike today. Then what has gone wrong that the ‘Marvel producing institutions’ have become barren. Who is to be blamed? Teachers? Students? Or someone else? The answer lies in the ‘Interest’ theory. Whose interest? Both teachers’ as well as students’. Just a decade back, the private schools were not in abundance as they are now. The education system has now been marginalized and reduced to an income source. The interest from education has now shifted towards money, and more and more private schools are coming up with high tech facilities while our government schools are left at the mercy of less interested teachers. The lack of interest of the government, who are guardians/trustees of these schools, has forced the parents to move on to private schools. Moreover, the lack of interest shown is sometimes driven by some covert motives such as some private schools are owned by politicians. After state it is the students who must be interested in gaining and seeking more, which can be attained by questioning more. And sometimes it is the capability and capacity of the student as well. Teaching is not a one way transaction. Moreover, the teachers of Govt. Schools have already earned a bad name that they need to do away with and work a little harder. Now if someone argues that ‘my son studies in a government school and he is doing very well’, then it obviously is not just because there are competent teachers teaching him but because he also is interested in his studies. And further, as we know, the last decade has been the most violent phase in Kashmir that has badly impacted education system and mind set of the youth. Then it comes the turn of the teachers who need to take pains and interest in teaching students by their heart without any malice. They need to use new methods to make students more interested in studies. The lack of facilities in government schools, lack of interest and lack of commitment coerced the parents to send their wards to the private schools instead of government schools, leaving the poor and less interested parents’ less interested students’ quota for the government schools. Well, exceptions do occur. By driving teachers out of the schools will surely not solve the problem, but what is needed is ‘Interest driven education system’ in our government schools. The education system that shall enhance the creativity and imagination of the students. A well said quote by John Henrik Clarke “A good teacher, like a good entertainer first must hold his audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson” sums it all.

Pride and Prejudice- Kashmir after alliance.

As a citizen of Jammu and Kashmir, I am constantly haunted by the term “governance alliance” that has been revolving around for some time now. Evolution of the term has not been so easy, as it needed the great hard-work to bring North Pole and South Pole closer to each other, or [maybe] not. Both the BJP and PDP sought votes so as to keep each other at bay, but now it seems that the people of Jammu and Kashmir took the term “keep each other at bay” wrongly as it actually meant, “at the same bay”. The alliance of BJP and PDP, which might not had been the outcome after the fractured mandate had been given to them if “keep each other at bay” logic is applied, has so far been marred by the controversies, which started since the day of taking oath. The “governance alliance” has been flagged high on the pillars of Common Minimum Program that in one way or the other is not clear about the so called “development” or “governance”. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are not so naïve that they could not understand the language used in the CMP. The same old wine i.e. “confusion” has been put in the new bottles and is being served to the people.

Pertinently, BJP has explicitly given up on the issue of Article 370 and the PDP on the issue of removal of AFSPA and Self-Rule, which becomes the basis of the fear psychosis to me. BJP, that we all know, has its roots in RSS which is ardent in converting India into a Hindu state and has been trying it for a long time. Since the PDP has allied with the BJP, a notion haunts me that the PDP has got involved in the act of sell out for the lust of power paving way for the BJP to further its roots in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

PDP may be counting on the assertion that keeping people of Jammu and Kashmir busy with the slogan of “rejuvenation of economy” by targeting corruption, and regional imbalances with respect to infrastructure, will keep them away from the political issues of Kashmir, is Naïve. On the other side, BJP’s assertion that calling foreign secretary talks between New-Delhi and Islamabad will make people believe that the political aspects of the state are being discussed by the Indian government with the Pakistani government, will keep the people of Kashmir in a state of trance, is also Naïve. Sidelining the “separatist lobby” of Jammu and Kashmir in this matter significantly makes us believe that all such acts and assertions are just to let the other 6 years pass. The separatist lobby in Kashmir has a handsome number of “ideological followers” in the state that cannot be sidelined. Anyone who speaks about the agony of the Innocent Kashmiris is dubbed as the traitor or agent or terrorist, isn’t it a hypocrisy?

PDP has been denying all such allegations and [maybe] they are true then in that case they might not have compromised on the political agendas of the State. Recent release of the political prisoner, Masarat Alam who has been called as the “Pak Agent” by the Indian Media, blindly on the basis of some police report that merely contains allegations, has been seen in India as a treacherous act of the Mufti Mohammad Syed to which he has been skeptical. The only reply from him has been that he will not succumb to the pressure tactics of his ally and will not allow the decisions regarding state to be taken in New Delhi unlike Sheikh Abdullah who was reinstated as CM of Jammu and Kashmir state after 22 years by Indira Gandhi after he succumbed to their pressure tactics.  That means he is ardent of releasing the political prisoners that are languishing in jails for years without any trial. For that we need to wait and watch if the history would repeat itself or something new happens. Had this been the case then Mufti would not had compromised on the political issues of the state, [maybe]. Mufti Mohammad Syed today is being called as traitor and what not for releasing the political prisoners, by the Indian media, which clearly signifies that even alliance with BJP, that was considered to be the party of untouchables in Kashmir, is not the license to prove the Patriotism, either.

 The AFSPA has been killing the innocent Kashmiris be it in Macchil or any other part of the state. How could “governance alliance” bring back such lives or how could such an economic development convince or sooth the mother of such a Martyr? [Maybe], by preventing further bloodshed of innocent Kashmiris. But until the draconian law like AFSPA is in place such a thing is far beyond any imagination.

History is evident of the fact that the nations had been occupied by changing their demography. AFSPA has since its inception been doing the same, killing innocent Kashmiris that they unfortunately term as collateral damage. An article in the recent CMP has added to such evil intentions. The CMP proposes to settle the Pakistani Refugees in the state so that the king making power of the state could shift to the Jammu region. Thereby the CMP is all set to divide the state of Jammu and Kashmir on communal basis, which else is famous for its hospitality and patience all over the world. Settling such refugees is indeed a humanitarian issue but their settlement in Kashmir will deter the Kashmir cause and [maybe], Kashmir will be forced back to the 2010 like situation which will indeed be a “National Security Threat” which shall not be compromised in any way. It shall be more prudent to settle such refugees in Delhi where they will get more amenities and resources so that their economic weakness could be done away with, which is not possible in an economically and industrially weak state, like Jammu and Kashmir.

The narration of the term “governance” from both the parties is totally different and produces two different versions of a same thing. To BJP “governance” in Jammu and Kashmir means to strengthen the roots and the same to PDP means economic strengthening of the state, as evident from the CMP but the document misses the political issues of the state, either by mistake or intentionally. The BJP and PDP has entered into a live-in relationship which if fails would end up in self remorse, regret and shame and if more caution is not taken then it may give rise to the Frankenstein’s monster that will put them in a more grave trouble, than self remorse, regretting or shame.