An open letter to MHRD Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank

Saif Ali Budgami

Respected Sir
I address you on behalf of all the students of Kashmir. I was glad to see you urging to address the students nationally On 5th of May through social media webinars.

Simultaneously I went to mull over the cause during this pandemic disease, what made you announce the students concern nationally? As hadn’t heard such move before. Undoubtedly question is already answered, for this lockdown, it deeply affected the educational career of the students. This really had be addressed now or then.

Moving ahead the best part of that Twitter thread, where your desired students to present and forward their grievances and concerns through the simplest means via Twitter hashtag (#EducationMinisterGoesLive). This move must be appreciated and welcome by each and every educated especially students. Perchance for the first time in my educational life I heard this announcement. Where concerns of the students are valued and asked to be heard in the easiest ways. Without following and requesting the concerning authorities.
Respected sir, in regard to this online and digital move during this lockdown. The educational concerns I desire to air are divergent from the mainstream education system from the land of lockdowns (Kashmir).
Lockdown is not anything new for us, but the abrupt reaction of educational authorities during this lockdown is entirely a new innovation for us. We have witnessed long lasting sheer lockdowns since 2008 but didn’t see such a sophisticated and advanced reaction during any of those lockdowns. We went through months lockdown of 2008, 2010, 2016 and finally 2019 merged with 2020. All the 11,308 schools (837 high schools, 410 higher secondary schools, 4,225 middle schools and 5,836 primary schools) in the Kashmir division were ordered to be closed following the center’s call scraping of Article 35A on 5th of August 2019.

But none from state to center authorities was immensely concerned with the educational career of the students. Rather seemed! the ministry intentionally desired to assassinate the educational career of the students. All the students of Jammu and Kashmir were hardly allowed breathe free schooling air in longest lockdown.

One month nation wide lockdown made you to address the nation wide students. But nine months lockdown in the valley didn’t even melt your rigid approach to think about the career of Kashmiri students. The students outside Kashmir from the first go could avail and achieve education online having high speed internet data and every online material available at a click. But we are deprived of all these offline and online data sources since 5th of August.

Educational institutions in the Kashmir division witnessed only three months of class work in 2019. The schools opened in March last year. And closed for the summer vacations in July followed by 5th August episode. Students went to school for only 100 or 110 days, whereas the National Education Policy, 2019, calls for 220 working days in educational institutes. Who was to be followed or acted? till now none dares to answer and address such concerns. If you are? kindly mediate and differentiate the lives of the students during lockdown from 5th August 2019 and from 22 March 2020.

The students that follow up 190 to 220 working days in the schools are unable to complete the designated syllabi. Now can you guess the condition of the students? who were completely locked up to the walls of house and without being aired online education.

The national educational apps like Epathshala, Meritination, BYJUS, Unfold U, TED and other related apps were sooner uninstalled from the mobile phones by the students of the valley lacking internet connections during the huge lockdown. And that too seems nobody’s headache under the slogan of digital India mission.
Dear sir, you might be quite aware about the Kashmiri students who study outside India, when they were evacuated from the other countries. They were compelled to stay in outside states instead of returning their homeland. They had to attend online classes of their Universities, which they couldn’t attend here due to the ban on high speed internet since 5th of August 2019. Is your announcement including us or excluding us? We are in doubt, for sure we are excluded. If you seriously are ready to listen and embrace our concerns regarding our educational life during the pandemic?

Be sure your minutes can be enough for most of students nationally, for they faced this lockdown first time in the lifetime. Their concerns probably can be limited to this lockdown tenure. But dear sir, the concerns of we Kashmiri students are all opposite to theirs. You need not just hours of live interactive program for us. But months to listen and years to practise and solve. And are you sure that we will be able to watch you live easily without any network interruption on this speed? Off course no from our side!

I am ashamed to add our educational concerns faced during the month of Coronavirus lockdown. How can we forget our nine months disastrous flood of lockdown that washed thousands of blooming buds under educational careers? By addressing our few concerns related to our online studies that have never accompanied us in any of the lockdowns. The beauty of the system will prevail soon after the lockdown ends and doors of the schools, colleges and universities will open with the imposition of many rigid and strict laws to finish the annual syllabi and done with annual examinations. Nobody will be giving damn shit to the student’s concerns faced and experienced.

The national laws from the Center will be thrusting to the students educational career. Nonetheless the concerns to be listened to solve and act? Then primarily the ground researches must have be approached to analyze the percentage under the realm of depression and anxiety. First due to the centric rigidity and then state administrative unseriousness and strictness.

The previous lost of the students can’t be undone but we entreat to have some systematic, practical, positive and serious approach towards the students of the valley in future. We are done with each and every lost, but we don’t want such unsystematic, irresponsible and unserious response to ruin the future of the future posterity.
Thank you
With Regards

Saif Ali Budgami

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