As a significant part of continuous reformation process in education, the CM’s Super-50 initiative along with winter tutorials and winter camps has come up with encouraging results and the initiative is proved to be going in a right direction, beyond doubts.
The preconceived notions and stereotype mental frames that the flaws, faults and failures of education system are embedded in it and shall remain with the system as its unchanged fate, have now been re-evaluated and replaced with new hopes.
The mentality would surely end up as a myth beyond reality if the spirit of delivery with more passion and ideal strategy is continued to be a hall mark.
The contemporary highly modernised world has its pride only because of its unshakable but dynamic knowledge institutions. No super structure can be raised devoid of the strong infrastructure of learning centres.
Kashmir, particularly with an unimaginable loss and destruction of education as an institution during a quarter century of hostile political situation, has still been craving for some noble soul like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan to come for the rescue who would feel the pain and miseries of the otherwise fertile brains of the soil.
It was after a veteran educationist of sub-continent, Khwaja Ghulam Syedein, in the post-47 Kashmir that the visionary and extraordinary efficient and civil service topper, Dr Shah Faesal had been given the charge of, hither to seemingly least important, Directorate of School Education.
He along with the then firebrand minister had undoubtedly intended to give the best to the student community from the day the duo took the charge of their offices. His series of initiatives to replace or repair the track and to bring the 'derailed wagon' on it had received ample applause and huge appreciation by the teachers, parents and civil society groups.
However, the essence of strategy put in place was stiff, harder or misconstrued/misunderstood by a section of stakeholders who expressed their strong disagreement with essentially significant process of reformation. Difference of opinion is a right to be equally enjoyed by all irrespective of any rank or file.
Such an atmosphere of debate and dialogue surely inculcates the scientific temperament in society to evaluate everything on merit. But, the hostile environment as witnessed during the days over shadowed the beauty of changes appearing on ground.
Anyway, Chief Minister's Free Winter Coaching has been largely considered to be a pro-academic move and a navel experience in the troubled state where private coaching institutions had hither to create an atmosphere of monopoly in "selling out the knowledge" on self determined rates.
The poor and unprivileged parents who are in deep despair and distress couldn't afford to translate the dreams of their meritorious wards at exorbitant prices. They have now been able to get it almost free that too under the surveillance and guidance of efficient and experienced faculty and administrators.
This has truly proved to be a welcome step towards purification of the much polluted money minting centers established in the name of academic institutions with sacred brand labels.
The experiment has been picking up in a progressive mood with the pooled efforts and expertise of the ministry, secretariat and directorate. The director being the actual translator of the designed policies and programmes so lies the huge role with him to deliver.
The incumbent Director being the scholar of Sociology from world renowned institution- JNU, reputed author and an experienced administrator would most hopefully continue to utilise his sociological understanding to integrate the schools and society to help in generating the vibrant knowledge economy.
This is the third winter in which a large number of government schools shall remain quite busy in academic exercises which otherwise were used to be abandoned and intruded by deviants for delinquent and indecent activities in most of the areas.
The move would surely be a historical achievement in the initiated process of delivering educational excellence to the children generally belonging to the downtrodden homes.
Nothing is impossible in achieving the targets as demanded by the contemporary age if teachers love their students the way they do it for their own children and the authorities at all levels demonstrate their profound respect for teachers as trusted professionals, and a deep understanding of both shall surely explore new vistas of wisdom and intellectualism.
The free winter schooling has also infused a new spirit of competition between the existing private coaching and the Super-50 coaching centers of the education department. This would of course be beneficial for the students in terms of getting the quality teaching and better facilities in the struggling atmosphere of "survival of the fittest".
In this endeavour, the government, at divisional level, has adorned one of its educational institutions at Hyderpora, Srinagar, with all requisite modern facilities and faculty to provide the coaching to the students to prepare them for different professional entrances in an attractive and much conducive atmosphere. That is the reflection of enormous potentiality of government that they too can deliver, if they resolve or intend to.
However, the instructors engaged for the purpose must be given a wide range of exposure of the entrance specific coaching. They need to be identified and fully trained well in advance. Better to send them outside for latest trends of teaching the aspirants desirous to go for professional entrance exams.
Feeling the fairness and social recognition of the move and the enthusiasm among all stakeholders, there is now a need to include all the students from all the areas in the purview of programme obviously with required arrangements and due incentives to teachers.
And, with this it must be made a permanent clause in state education policy to ensure its durability in all political regimes to come. Or, the success of the initiative must force for the initiation of a full length debate and discussion on moving towards no winter vacations.