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Why Always schools first ?

By | Sheikh Khursheed

The world is gripped in a severe lockdown, sadly Jammu and Kashmir is from long. The health experts are trying their best to fight Covid19. Our Union Territory Government toois doing a wonderful job to bend down the curve in Nation(State/UT wise) increasing graph. In this regard respective District Civil and Police Administrations have taken all necessary possible steps like sanitization, curfews, restrictions, mass awareness, distribution of free essentials,masks etc. Perhaps the most important & necessary step taken, is the establishment of Quarantine centres at District, Tehsil,Block,Area etc levels for suspected COVID positives & fresh arriving travellers from other states & abroad. To extend the Quarantine capacity some Govt & Private Educational Institutions have been identified in an order. No doubt after watching the present hike in numbers, we must be prepared for every worst Case scenario. The million dollar question is why education establishments in Kashmir always become soft targets for government to take over for every activity  they have not been made for.Before schools there are many alternates.For exampleRural Development Dept has already spent millions for a single six to seven roomed Panchayat Ghar in almost every Halqa/ Village. It’s the best time to test these vacant buildings & department with its own Engineering wing as well as regular watch & ward system apart from local seven to eleven membered honorary Panchayat bodies. There are almost dozens of Community halls, rest houses, huts etc in almost every Tehsil. Although a few of which have already been identified, why can’t we put majority of these buildings in use, before we move on to schools. This will not only expose the ground reality of these desolate and forsaken buildings, but force the responsible officials to own & ready them on war footage basis. We have almost excellent half adozen NTPHC’s in every medical block where in these critical times hardly any patients visit. Even in normal routine working days anyone can see that out of fifteen to twenty rooms/wards only two to three rooms are functional due to scarcity of staff and other essential medical equipments.In the present pleasant weather conditions administration can easily identify  many other constructed non functional awaiting,hand-over Take-over buildings in consultation with respective executing agencies and Departments like R&B,Housing Board,Tourism etc.One can see other Tehsil/District Departmental complexes like Horticulture,Agriculture, Fisheries,Sheep, Veterinary etc. Many private Hotels, restaurants,complexes,Madrasa Night Hostels etc too can be converted into Quarentine centres. If Administration makes a serious survey there can be hundreds of buildings more feasible & comfortable than the easy sighted schools. But our irony is that whenever need of accommodation arises our Administration always find it easy to identify schools be it a polling booth,a security camp,a relief rehabilitation center,censes survey/Adhaar centre or any other camp.Even these moves encourage & make easy for public too to carry out their useless gatherings,activities & community Jirga in schools.I believe this act will not only effect our educational system academically at present but also effect the basic facilities of schools. After a huge infrastructure damage & an academic generation loss in the 90s dark decade in the last Fifteen to Twenty Golden years of SSA,RMSA & SMAGRA our classroom walls were back on track. Our results were getting better day by day. One must not ignore the funds & Budget we have for repair & renovation of schools.At a time when our children are almost out of schools from two consecutive sessions studying on the mercy of some PDF files. The recent initiative of online offline lecturing could somehow avoid the loss, but please remember in a frequent Internet shutdown zone like Kashmir this just can be an excellent initiative not alternative .We can’t afford our children in homes post lockdown as majority of parents will not allow their wards to enter these schools fearing infection. Government can assure & claim sanitization & cleanliness. But the kind of fear & corrupt society we live in no one will believe.

Let Schools Be The Last Not The First.