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Schools reopen in Kashmir after unrest, winter break

Schools reopen in Kashmir after unrest, winter break

Adil Lateef
Srinagar, Mar 1: After eight-months, schools re-opened across Kashmir division today with students hoping for disturbance-free education this year.
Despite rainfall and cold weather, children donning colourlful uniforms and holding bags, were seen thronging their respective schools everywhere in the Valley in early morning. There was hustle and bustle outside the schools with parents and guardians of the children saying goodbye to their kids.
The children, full of enthusiasm and smiles on their faces, were happy to join back schools and see their friends and teachers after long break with the hope that their education which suffered immensely last year due to turmoil won’t get derailed again.
“I am feeling happy that we are coming back to our school where I will meet my friends. We are also happy that education is back on track because the conditions last year were so bad. We hope to recover (in terms of studies) whatever we lost previous year and excel in our studies,” said Maryam, an eight-grade student of a top missionary school here in city centre.
The schools in Kashmir remained closed for at least five months in second half of last year after the killing of top militant commander Burhan Wani as curfews and shutdowns coupled with civilian killings and violence became order of the day.
Despite several attempts by State Government, the schools couldn’t be reopened and it happened only for few days after relaxation in shutdown by separatists but later up to 8th standard, the winter vacations were announced from December 17 and the winter vacation for classes from 9th to 12th standard started from December 24. Although exams of class 10 and 12th were held with 50 percent choice system, others were promoted en masse.
The months-long break prompted some of the students to say that “they are getting feel of coming back in schools after a year instead of eight months”. “It feels I am back to school after one year. The students were worst hit due to last year’s turmoil,” said a student of Sri Pratap Higher Secondary School here. The students expressed hope that new academic calendar won’t get derailed this year.
“Although the last year was bad for everyone but for us (students) it was worst ever. We pray this session remains good and uninterrupted. Today we are feeling good. We hope that situation remains good and the 2016 is not repeated,” said the students.
It must be mentioned here that not only students suffered academically last year but the educational infrastructure also suffered heavy losses as 34 schools were set ablaze by arsonists – an act which evoked criticism from all sections of the society – across the Valley. Several students also lost their lives in the unrest while hundreds suffered injuries, including eye injuries and some of them even lost vision.
The schools, however, in snowbound areas of Machil, Jamgund, Keran, Gurez, Karnah, Kodara, and Hajibal Gogaldara of Kashmir division didn’t reopen today as Government extended winter vacation in these areas up to March 12. The vacation was extended in view of the apprehensions of avalanche and road connectivity issues in these areas.

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