December 2016 News

After 5 Months Of Lockdown, Kashmir Goes To School On Weekends

3 December 2016
Nazir Masoodi

Srinagar: As students across the country enjoy their usual weekend break, students in Kashmir are hard at work. After being shut for nearly five months, most schools in Kashmir are now open during weekends as separatist groups relaxed their call for strikes over Saturdays and Sundays. While some schools had introduced weekly assignments for their students to work on at home during the unrest following the killing of Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani, almost lakhs of other have lost an entire academic session. 'I am going to school just two days in a week. Saturday and Sunday, no schooling other than these days,' Omar Farooq, a student in an uptown area in Srinagar, said. The school managements said that they are not comfortable with the two days of strike relaxation in the valley and that schools should be exempted from strikes. 'Unfortunately we could not have assessments of the kids in school, so we did have home assessments. Right now there is a two day opening of schools, but we are looking for things to normalize so we can open the schools completely,' Shahzad Hamdani, Administrator of International School Kashmir, said. Last month, the state government announced the mass promotion of students and conducting of board exams for class 10 and 12. This saw a very high turnout of students during a rather turbulent time in the state. The government believes that many schools in rural areas conducting normal classes is a clear sign of the people's commitment to educating their children despite all odds, as the separatists lose support in the valley. 'This is in the city which has just two days of school. Most of the village schools by and large have now started working normally. Many students are turning up in different districts,' Naeem Akhtar, Jammu and Kashmir's Minister for Education, said. Although schools are now opening on weekends, this temporary return to normalcy appears short-lived as winter vacations are due in a few weeks.