Private schools in J-K question how education policy was changed within 24 hours2 June 2021
Srinagar: Private schools in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday termed as unilateral the administration's order to restrict the timing of online classes, calling it 'bizarre, devoid of any logic and detrimental' for the future of students. Jammu and Kashmir Education Chamber (JKEC) - an amalgam of leading private school associations from both Kashmir and Jammu divisions - raised questions as to how an education policy was changed within 24 hours. 'The unilateral government order to restrict the timing of online classes is bizarre, devoid of any logic and detrimental for the future of students. No education policy is changed in 24 hours. It concerns the future of society and every policy is framed in the backdrop of an evidence-based approach,' a spokesperson of the chamber said. He said there was no clarity on what basis the administration framed the policy. 'We doubt they studied any model or consulted any expert, educationist or academician,' he said. The chamber said the department concerned has neither studied how world over online classes are managed and neither have it watched the ground situation here. 'On one hand the classes have been limited, but on the other hand, the education department has not reduced the syllabus. So limited classes in such a situation means limited learning for students. It is deprivation of quality education to students here particularly when we compare it to all India level,' the spokesperson said. In other states, he said, the students would complete the full syllabus and the students in J-K will have to be content with learning a few chapters only. 'Now, if they have to force schools to work according to the new plan, then reduce the syllabus and screen time will be automatically reduced,' he added. The chamber also questioned the way the policy was framed and announced. 'The education department announced that they brought on board all stakeholders, but private schools being a major stakeholder were never even consulted once. We want to know which stakeholder did they talk to and who were the experts for this policy,' it asked. The spokesperson said all the school bodies are part of the chamber and till date no one from it was consulted. The government has again treated this sensitive policy through an administrative angle only, he said. The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday came out with fresh guidelines limiting daily online classes to half-an-hour for pre-primary students and 90 minutes for primary and middle students. The guidelines came within 24 hours of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha's directions to the school education department to come out with a policy in 48 hours after a video of a six-year-old girl went viral on social media in which she appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ease the burden of homework on the school kids.