Schools In Kashmir Remained Open For Less Than 3 Months In 2019

Schools and colleges in the Kashmir Valley only witnessed about three months of academic activities in 2019. After the withdrawal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmir Valley has been hit hard and students the hardest.

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According to the officials of the Education department, the educational institutes should remain functional for at least 180 days i.e. about six months in an academic year. According to experts, six months is the bare minimum, but usually, a school in India operates for around 9 months.

In the year 2019, less than 100 academic days were held in the educational institutes. “Till July, the academic activities were going on normally, but since August 5, when the authorities scrapped Article 370, no academic activity was held for over two months,” said a college principal as quoted by Rising Kashmir.

Most of the schools and colleges remained closed even as the government announced their official reopening. Parents say they are hesitant to send their children to schools given the continued ambiguity despite New Delhi relaxing restrictions on fixed-line phones and lately the SMS service.

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While the schools continued to remain deserted, the management of various schools and colleges asked the students to collect video lessons and assignments, as the internet facility has been blocked for around five months now.

Many parents are trying to compensate for the closure of schools by arranging tuitions for them in their neighbourhoods. Earlier I thought the situation will improve within a few weeks but I was mistaken. There is not only a communication blockade but also shutdown in Kashmir which is affecting all the students, said a concerned parent, who did not wish to be identified. 

According to S. Wali, an international psychologist,  “The students, who have to take competitive exams like civil services or engineering or management exams, feel left behind when they see other students in India carrying-on with their education and scoring well. With not being able to get the desired rank or score, student are left depressed and heart-broken. Not all are affected but those, who are susceptible to psychological issues, face severe difficulties.”

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What Was The Article 370 that India Abolished?

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a ‘temporary provision’ which grants special autonomous status to Jammu & Kashmir. Under Part XXI of the Constitution of India, which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”, the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been accorded special status under Article 370. All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K.

1. According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy. The article says that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganised, shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

2. In 1949, the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru commanded Kashmiri politician Sheikh Abdullah to consult Dr BR Ambedkar to develop the draft of a suitable article to be included in the Constitution.

3. Article 370 was eventually drafted by Gopalaswami Ayyangar who was a minister without portfolio in the first Union Cabinet of India. He was also a former Diwan to Maharajah Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir

4. Article 370 is drafted in Amendment of the Constitution section, in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions. The original draft explained – “the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja’s Proclamation dated the fifth day of March 1948.”

5. On November 15, 1952, it was changed to “the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of the State as the Sadr-i-Riyasat (Governor) of Jammu and Kashmir, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the State for the time being in office.” Under Article 370, the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.

With Inputs From Rising Kashmir