In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless, and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

Coaching centres defy diktat to close down for 90 days

Srinagar, Apr 24: Defying the Education Minister’s diktat, private coaching centres across Kashmir Valley functioned routinely on Tuesday.
Calling them “distractions” which were “affecting the system” Education Minister, Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, had on Sunday ordered closure of the coaching centres offering tuitions up to class 12. The ban was to be for three months.
He, however, stated that the ongoing student protests in the valley did not force the decision.
Chairman Coaching Centres Association, Kashmir, (CCAK), G N Var, told The Kashmir Monitor that the tuition centres conducted classes “as usual”.
The centres, Var said, would continue functioning unless the government issues a formal order in this regard.
“Let the government come up with a formal order. We will go through the content and language of the order. If it (a formal order) is in the interest of the students, we will abide by it. But if it is not, we will approach the government,” Var said.
“The students shall be as important to the government as they are to us. I hope the decision by the government will be in the interest of the students.”
Var said if the centres were to be closed, the government needed to “compensate us the 18 per cent GST, which we pay towards the government”.
“If we close the centres, do we not have to refund the students their fee? Who would compensate us that?” asked Var.
He said education should be “student centric” and “not politicised”.
President CCAK, Junaid Yousuf, they would “respond” once a formal order is issued by the School Education Department.
The stance of the School Education Department regarding the decision to close the centres was “changing every day,” Yousuf said.
“First they said they were closing the centres for 90 days, and then they said they would review it fortnightly. There is no clarity,” he said.
Yousuf said there was a “watering down” of the government’s stance over the matter.
“How can the centres be closed when there is no formal order?” he said.
A coaching centre owner said the police went to several centres and “harassed the staff there” to enforce the government’s decision.
“The staff told them that it was the decision of the association to keep the centres open,” the owner said.