BOSE censures Education Minister’s ‘Jail as exam Center’ proposal

Academics call it ‘RSS idea’ for detained Kashmiri students

Amid massive controversy over holding of Class 10 and 12 exams from mid-November, the J&K government has put the career of detained students at stake.
Interestingly, J&K’s Education Minister Naeem Akhtar has asked the police authorities to provide exact figures of detained students to set-up their exam centres in jails or police stations only, according to reports.

However, officials say it is impossible to execute the minister’s plan.
Talking to Kashmir Post, Chairman of Board of School Education—the examination conducting body—Zahoor Ahmad Chatt said it is impossible for them to hold exams of students who are in police stations and jails.
“We don’t know details of all the detained students as of now. But since they are detained in various police stations and jails outside J&K, it is not possible to set-up exam centers for them in jails or lock-ups which are scattered across Kashmir,” he said.

He said the BOSE would earlier conduct exams of prisoners who wanted to continue their education from one particular jail. “But right now students are detained in different police stations and BOSE can’t reach every police station to identify the students and conduct their exams. It is practically impossible,” he said.
According to sources, hundreds of students are languishing in different police stations and jails for the past two to three months and have remained away from their books.
However the Education department, instead of releasing the students, is allegedly forcing them to appear in the exams from mid-November from jails itself, drawing massive flak from the stakeholders.
“We don’t have any details about how many students have been detained and where they have been detained. There are no directions from the government to provide them any study material as well,” Chatt said.
He however said it is the job of Directorate of School Education to identify the students detained in jails and provide the study material to them.
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Aijaz Ahmad Bhat expressed ignorance about the issue and said it wasn’t discussed with him. “I don’t have any information about all this,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chatt said during the conduct of any exam, the BOSE receives school-wise micro-packs consisting of admit cards of students, their center notices and exam-related material.
“We don’t know who has been detained where. So it is completely impossible for BOSE to hold exams in police stations,” he said.
Besides detained students, a large number of students have lost their vision after being hit by pellets.
“We have a provision to provide assistance to a student if he/she is not able to write in exams. They can give a dictation to an assistant. But pellet victims is a different case. How can they prepare without vision. It is really a difficult situation,” said a group of BOSE officials.
Meanwhile, academics on Friday came down heavily on the government for coming out with “ridiculous” proposal for students detained in different police stations.
“Instead of making such proposals, the government at first instance should file a challan in Court of Law about students booked under some charges. If they are under preventive custody, they should be released if the government is serious about their career,” said former Secretary of BOSE, Bashir Ahmad Dar.
“They (students) are not political prisoners but most of them are juveniles and should be shifted to Juvenile Homes. Government has detained these students in different police stations which have no atmosphere of academics,” he said.
Dar said most of the students were below 18 years old and are under tremendous stress.
“I don’t understand why they are not being released on bail so that they can appear in exams,” he said.
He accused the Education Minister of “implementing RSS proposal” for students of Kashmir.
“It is unfortunate that government has kept most of the youth under preventive custody and not filed any challan before court. This is a fantastic ridiculous proposal of RSS and is implemented by our Kashmiri Education Minister,” he said.