By Irshad Khan
Srinagar, Apr 11: In view of the students’ protests in the valley schools of late and in line with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, the School Education Department has framed an academic calendar for the schools in Kashmir.
The calendar, which is “awaiting concurrence” from the General Administration Department (GAD), has envisaged at least 200 working days in the schools in Kashmir, a top official in the School Education Department told The Kashmir Monitor.
The academic calendar, the official said, has proposed to minimize the number of holidays “barring Sundays” and hold “remedial classes” for the students to compensate the lost time of the students’ studies. “It is our duty to give the students 200 days of learning- teaching outcome. In principle, we have taken a decision in the School Education Department to have a separate education calendar, but we need to have the concurrence from the GAD,” the official said.
For the concurrence, the official said, “We just need to write a letter to them over the matter”. Schools in the valley, the official lamented, “have opened for a period of 10 or 12 days” in the current academic session, which, as per him, was “having an adverse impact” on the students.
“See, there is NCF-2005 as per which we should have 200 working days minus vacations in an academic year… As you know because of the present law and order situation adversely affecting our schools and forcing their closure, we have tried to devise an academic calendar,” the official said.
He said that if the schools in the valley remain closed on a day due to a shutdown, “we would conduct classes the following holiday barring Sunday”.
“But we have to take the concurrence of the GAD, because it is the GAD that notifies the list of holidays,” he said.
Once the GAD conveys its concurrence, the official said, “We would be able to (officially) notify the calendar in which we ensure that 200 days of teaching learning outcome are carried out in all the schools in the state including private schools.”
“We need to have out of box solutions to complete the syllabi and courses otherwise our schools would suffer in Kashmir division. Hopefully we would be able to achieve the set targets,” the official added.
The remedial classes proposed in the academic calendar would be conducted “during school hours” as per the official Over the students’ protests in the schools of late, the official said,
“Law and order is not my forte to comment on. We want that the schools should remain open. The situation is going on for the last so many years. And every time the School Education Department has found a solution. Students have excelled despite so many impediments.”
The official said that it was “the moral obligation of the School Education Department to follow the NCF regulations in letter and spirit”.
The academic calendar, which would be issued “shortly”, has even envisaged “conducting classes in the schools on Sundays as well,” another top rung official in the School Education Department said.
He said that the remedial classes in the current academic session would be “scaled up as compared to last year”.
Apart from being necessitated by the prevailing situation, the official said that the remedial classes were “otherwise required also”.
“They would also help for the outcomes of the National Achievement Survey (NAS) in which the state is falling short,” he said.
The official however said that the academic calendar was being devised for schools across the state.
“While we already have the calendar proposed for Kashmir, it is being synchronised for Jammu also as it has a different academic session as compared to Kashmir,” he added.
FB’s #10 yr challenge: Netizens mock languishing govt projects in Kashmir
Srinagar, Jan 20: The #10year challenge–the latest rage on Facebook is triggering an unintended consequence in Kashmir.
It has thrown light on the abysmal pace of execution of key developmental projects.
In Kashmir, the government works are conceived and launched with much fanfare, but years, and in some cases decades, pass before they see the light of day.
The #10year challenge, new fad that has taken Facebook by storm and involves a person juxtaposing his or her decade-old photo with the current one, has seen Kashmiri people sharing photos of the incomplete government works here.
Netizens mostly share two similar photos of an incomplete pillar of the Jehangir Chowk-Ram Bagh (JCRB) flyover project, which was announced in 2009 and is still incomplete.
The project has missed multiple deadlines. To shut up the criticism they were receiving for the delay, the authorities opened up one way traffic on the first phase of the project, the overall completion of which is still a distant dream.
Announced in 2009, the construction on the flyover, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at an estimated cost of Rs 359 crore, began in 2013, with September 2016 set as its first deadline. The then chief minister Omar Abdullah had laid the foundation of the flyover.
Apart from JCRB, the other major projects which were started years ago but are yet to be completed include: Boulevard widening project, construction of tunnel on the Mughal Road, and widening of an arterial passage in the capital city, Syed Meerak Shah-Zakura road.
Government had approved the Boulevard widening project in 2009 and had directed the concerned authorities to complete the project on fast-track basis. However, the project is yet to be completed.
The next project following suit is the construction of the tunnel on the Mughal Road.
Fourteen years since the Government of India approved its construction, the project is yet to see the light of the day. The project was approved in 2004, when the PDP shared power with Congress in the state. The proposal was for seven-kilometre long tunnel between Zaznar and Chathapani at 3,000 meters altitude on the 230-year-old Mughal road.
However, the work on the project is yet to be started as a result the road remains closed for nearly six months each year.
Similarly, in 2009 authorities started expansion of the Syed Meerak Shah Road from Dalgate to Zakura, primarily for facilitating smooth flow of vehicular movement through congested areas of old city Srinagar.
The widening project for the 10.33 kilometre road estimated at Rs 336.24 crore was aimed to serve as key surface link to old city Srinagar, Hazratbal shrine and the University of Kashmir. However, ten years have gone by but the project is still lingering.
257 militants killed in 2018 is highest in 4 years
New Delhi, Jan 20: Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the killing of 257 militants in 2018 – the highest in four years – by government forces, official figures show.
A total of 213 militants were killed in 2017, 150 in 2016 and 108 in 2015.
While 142 militants were eliminated in anti-militancy operations till August 31, the rest were killed in the remaining four months.
An official told IANS that August witnessed the killing of 25 militants – the highest in a single month in 2018.
Also, 105 militants were arrested and 11 surrendered in 2018. The number arrested in 2017 was 97, 79 in 2016 and 67 in 2015.
Government forces also secured surrendering a higher surrender of militants in 2018, which was almost six times more compared to 2017. Only two militants surrendered in 2017 against one in 2016. No militant surrendered in 2015.
The data further revealed that the number of violent incidents were also at a peak during 2018 – almost one-and-half times more than 279 incidents in 2017. A total of 223 violent incidents were registered in 2016 and 143 in 2015.
The security forces also seized 153 AK rifles in 2018 — a dip from 213 in 2017, data accessed by IANS revealed. The number was 178 in 2016 and 177 in 2015.
An official deployed in internal security in Jammu and Kashmir said AK-47 assault rifles were the preferred weapon of militants.
The official, who did not want to be named, said that over 300 militants, including foreigners, were still active in the Kashmir Valley, especially in south Kashmir, which is the epicentre of militancy for over three years now.
“And these militants have been continuously attempting to radicalize youngsters in the Valley to take up arms and to shed fear of getting killed,” said the official.
“Militants were known to monitor activities of youngsters on social media – Facebook and Twitter — who are inclined to militant activities and hardcore religious activities,” the official added.
Mehbooba among ‘strongest’ CMs of JK: Beg
Srinagar, Jan 20: Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehboob Beg on Sunday hailed party president Mehbooba Mufti as one of the most consistent and strongest chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir.
Beg, in a statement, said no matter if she is in the government or in the opposition she remained “steadfast”.
“Her politics and conviction finds basis in her ‘pro-people belief’, how she handled the Kathua rape case is a case in-point,” the statement said.
He said that the PDP president resisted the “sinister attempt to disturb and dislodge the tribal community and ensured no politics was played on this issue.”
Beg said: “Mehbooba’s stand was made crystal clear to the all-powerful central government as well, the Home Minister offered unconditional talks, the cases against protestors were withdrawn, the unilateral ceasefire was announced, how can we not appreciate her persisting with pro-people policies and made the BJP agree to matters that were politically inconvenient to them.”
“She took stands very well realizing that she did not have the numbers to dictate terms to the BJP, yet she persisted and since the BJP did not have the intentions to fulfill the terms agreed upon, they had to pull-out,” he said.
He claimed in the statement that the BJP had entered into this coalition by signing on dotted lines, the Agenda of Alliance was a carefully drafted ‘pro-people’ document.
Beg said “it appears that the BJP had no intention to fulfill what they had committed to do, one cannot do much about if somebody intends to cheat and deceive you.”
“We have had people waste historical opportunities. 1996 was a historic opportunity, the government of the day had overwhelming numbers, but did that government dare to take ‘pro-people’ stands? Let history be the judge on that,” he added.