Education refers to the all-round development of the personality of an individual and aims at the complete transformation of his/her life. It is not merely the acquisition of degrees or certificates from institutions of excellence, but, rather a tool which facilitates the paradigm shift in the life of a learner in terms of character development, morality, good behaviour, responsible role towards the society, creation of skills, inculcation of values and good belief systems in the society, etc. It is an old aged saying that one is known by the company he keeps. A learner who spends time in the life in the company of learned is far apart from others who are aloof of learning.
Education facilitates a learning state in a student from the day one makes inroads within an institution. History is witness to the fact that in earlier times, the centers of learning where Madrassas and patshalas in India, including Kashmir. Thence after, with the advent of an institutional mechanism, the learning equations underwent a major shift and institutions became the centers of knowledge, with further impetus post-arrival of science and technology and paraphernalia of the modern times. Education is today at the fingertips of the people, but, it is the teacher and the institution that play a vital role in the real dissemination of the knowledge and pull a learner towards the state of enlightenment from the confines of the darkness. Even, the globalization of knowledge has made the facilitation of knowledge easy and at convenience.
Education in the past times was although an enterprise of a few and affluent, but, today, in contrast, every Tom, Dick and Harry has a bunch of degrees to his credit, although variable across the spectrum of specialization. However, the educational system of Kashmir is beset with a majority of problems. The major harm that has been done to the educational sector is due to the unhealthy state of political atmosphere and waywardness in our state of J&K. Every other day, due to uncertain nature of the situations in Kashmir, the educational institutions are closed day-in and day-out. The major portion of the year is lost in the whirlpool of political uncertainty. The recurring uncertain phases of the events has badly affected our educational sector and inflicted a heavy damage thereof. Today, the children are not ready to come to school. Others, who attend the days in the educational institutions, are short of patience. This is a major concern for the current times. Education is an asset of the nation. Due to the prevailing uncertain situation in our state, the students have turned awry. Gone are the days when students used to respect teachers in a comprehensive way. Today, a single taunt of discipline from a teacher is a heart-wrenching affair. Teachers who suggest the pupils to mend their ways invite ire of their parents. The government has made teachers like handicapped as they can’t do anything in the current political crisis. Recently, when in a government institute, the teachers after much parleys denied student’s entry into school on account of proper school shoes, next day, a respectable citizen came fuming and said that don’t mend them, tomorrow, may they harm you, it will trouble you. What can a teacher do at that point in time? A teacher is today a thorn in the eye of the people. He is being victimized by taunts like he is any hardcore criminal and takes the salary from the people’s pockets. The major problem is that there should have been some moderate sort of corporal punishment for the students because, in our times, the stick was called as mind-striver (akalnuma) as we bore it and also safeguards for the teachers.
It was a long time ago that Zakat Foundation of India chairman, Syed Zaffar Mehmood said that Kashmiri students are highly talented. But, that talent should be nourished and properly channelized under the auspicious aegis of teachers. Besides, the teachers should also focus on the creative aspect of the education. It is not merely the passage of knowledge in the classrooms, rather, there should be an inbuilt medium created by a teacher in the classroom to vent the creative talent of the students. The second most problem in our classrooms is that there are no or less demonstrative activities in the classroom. A classroom should become like a laboratory in itself, where students can themselves perform the activities themselves regarding their lessons, under the guidance of their subject specialist teachers. Another important problem is that parents force themselves on their wards, so far as career choices are concerned, without looking for the inbuilt literary taste of their wards. Long time back, there was medical and engineering craze in Kashmir. Since Dr. Shah Faesal topped the IAS in 2010; the wavy nature of the students is caught in the quagmire of civil services as of now. It should not be like this. There is something beyond the confines of short-term visions of goal. There are a plethora of career choices beyond the intermediate level. The proper counseling of the students is the need of the hour. There should be the pause of parent’s intervention in the student’s career choice and an end to the switch-off and switch on mechanisms.
Cutting long story short, education as of now in Kashmir is caught in a distraught situation. Well-offs have sent their wards to learning abodes of knowledge centres and institutions. It is the poor who suffers as of now. Children should maximise their learning within the minimum of time they get in the academic session of the year. Parents should create an ethical environment in their homes for their wards. Teachers should change their strategy of learning and move beyond the pages of books towards a greater clarity and focus on skill development, demonstrative abilities and research inculcation in the students. This way of a healthy triangular relationship between student, teacher and parents can become a boost in the arm for the rectifying the faulty system of education in our Kashmir. Every teacher is a good scholar, but that scholastic aptitude must droop down towards the students as the world of today’s cut-throat competition demands so. Together, the wheel of education can be pushed towards the greater good of the society. Parents should keep a tight vigil on their students and inculcate a spirit of morality in them. This way they can perform as the better students of today and best citizens of tomorrow who respect their teacher’s and elders totally.
The government has made enormous provisions in the educational institutions in terms of highly qualified teacher’s, infrastructure, scholarships, etc for the students in general and poor in particular. Only that is required is the zeal and zest of the students to learn, achieve their goals and make the name of the state and country, time and again, high in achievements. (KNB)