Parents, Students worried as winter break extended twice

The authorities in Kashmir have delayed the reopening of the schools after the winter break twice since March 1, saying it was because of the bad weather, but students and parents are apprehensive. They feel that the ongoing tension in the Valley might disrupt the academic calendar.
The schools and colleges in the Valley were shut for a three-month-long winter break and were scheduled to reopen after March 1. The staff in the educational institutions were asked to join duty from February 25.

The government had earlier announced that the schools would reopen on March 5. Now, the vacation has been extended till March 10 even when the weather in the region is fine.

Since 2016, when Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir, students have suffered immensely. There have been no classes for months every year since then.

As the situation remains tense after the Pulwama suicide attack, students fear their classes might get disrupted again this year.

“We have not been able to focus on our studies since 2016. It is not only loss of regular classes but we are also feeling mental stress. The way the reopening of the schools has been postponed twice since March 1 even when the weather is fine, we fear there will be disturbance again,” says Bazila Nisar, a Class XI student.

Another student, Shumila Ashiq, said: “As the schools were closed for the winter vacation, we were attending private tuition but we have not been able to attend them regularly in the past two weeks due to the shutdown and tension in the Valley. The tuition centres cannot open in such a situation.” The Cluster University of Kashmir and the Islamic University of Science and Technology have postponed their exams.

Parents have questioned the government’s move to extend the winter break in the schools.

“Has emergency been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir? Why is the government extending winter vacation in all government and private schools of Kashmir and Jammu? Why doesn’t anyone in the government explain why they are taking such decisions?” asked a parent, Naseer Ahmad.

Director, School Education, Kashmir, Muhammad Younis said the decision had been taken due to “inclement weather”.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also questioned the decision of the Governor’s administration to keep the schools and colleges shut even when the winter break ended last month.

In a statement, senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar said the closure of the schools was proving worrisome for the students across Kashmir.