Altaf Bukhari seeks civil society support to avert educational disempowerment


Srinagar, Seeking cooperation from every section of the society to ensure disruption-free academic activities in the Valley, the Minister for Education, Finance and Labour & Employment, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Saturday urged the students to concentrate on their studies.

The spokesman said speaking at a joint meeting of the Vice-Chancellors of various Universities, the Principals of Degree Colleges and Education Department Officers convened here today, the Minister said that generation of Kashmiri youth can’t be kept away from education which has the power to change the destiny of a nation.

Principal Secretary Higher Education, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon and Director Colleges were also present at the meeting.

The Minister appealed the students to join their schools and colleges and resume their class work. “We don’t want to see the bleak future of Kashmir, where our youth remain uneducated,” the Minister said.

Commenting on the government’s decision to shut certain schools and colleges in the wake of the protests by students against the horrendous rape and murder of a Kathua girl, Bukhari said the Government is forced to close the educational institutions to ensure the safety of the students in view of the frequent protests. “Now the case is in court and we should look up to the judiciary to provide justice and ensure that the guilty are punished,” he said.

The Minister said, unfortunately, education has become the biggest casualty of the prevailing situation in Kashmir and “it is our collective responsibility to think over the terrible consequences of the loss of education of our children.” He said he is pained to see students taking to streets instead of focusing on their education. “Ironically, we have come to a time where we are systematically disempowering ourselves, educationally, intellectually, economically and physically,” said Bukhari adding that every right-thinking person in Kashmir including those with differing political ideologies shall have to seriously think over the grave issue, before it is too late to recoup the great loss.

The Minister pleaded with all sections of society to keep education out of politics. He said that all the emancipated men and women subscribing to any school of political thought are in favour of the continuation of education and “it seems some mysterious elements are hell-bent upon blocking the smooth functioning of the schools to render our children educationally disempowered.”

The Minister said while the Kashmir’s affluent class has already started shifting their children outside the State for education, it is the middle class and the poor whose children are losing out on education because of the recurrent disruptions. He also requested the parents to convince their wards against protests and not to waste their precious time.

The Minister asked the heads of the educational institution to treat their students as their own children and counsel them for their better future.

Seeking feedback from the heads of educational institutes, the Minister emphasized that it is a moral as well as an ethical duty of educational heads to ensure that they treat students in their respective institutions as their own children.

Emphasizing the need for student counselling, the Minister said as academicians it is important to ensure the safety and better future of students. He said proper counselling could surely help the students towards a better future.

He sought cooperation from teaching the community to work overtime to cover the deficit of the valuable time lost due to the prevailing circumstances. He said the teachers need to incorporate new ideas to produce a society that is vibrant, creative and rich in intellect.