SRINAGAR, Aug 4: The issue of another phase of summer vacations for schools has triggered a debate among people of Kashmir, many of whom say the decision would be an ‘unnecessary luxury’.
Just a day after schools reopened in the valley since summer vacations started on July 23, speculations were rife about another phase of holidays after authorities said they were contemplating on the issue in view of soaring mercury, much to the glee of students and teachers as well.
“Yes we are thinking over it in view of demands by parents and the media, but I cannot tell you when the order will be passed,” a source in the education department said on Friday.
Although no such order has been passed, yet many say they feel such a move would be a display of “lavishness on part of both the government and the people”.
“We have a long winter break for at least three months and given the other holidays and hartals (strikes) our students only go to school for one third of a year,” said a businessman, Syed Tariq of Srinagar.
“Now if they close schools again that means even the summer break will be for a month in total. By that calculation, schools opened for only half a year; this can happen only in Kashmir.”
However others say one more ‘episode’ of summer holidays is “a need” given the rising temperatures amid the holy month of Ramadhan when Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.
“Most of the students in class 7 onwards observe fast. This heat makes them thirsty and they cannot concentrate on their studies. Even we teachers are finding it hard to bear the weather these days,” says a teacher Rehana Akhter.
Akhter says the lack of proper facilities in classrooms makes it even more difficult. “There are no fans and no coolers in our school. So we desperately need more vacations right now,” she says.
However, Manzoor Ahmed a government contractor says another phase of vacation is “useless” given that all the students would continue going for private tuitions “inspite of the scorching heat”.
“My daughter is in the tenth standard and she leaves home everyday for tuitions even if its raining or sunny. Even if her school closes for summer again her tuition sir will not stop. And there they sit in a class of at least a hundred students.”
“So what’s the fun,” Ahmed says adding, “Let them announce holidays for small children, for them it is okay and needed.”
‘Who to blame’
Holidays again or not, the authorities are being blamed in both the cases.
On Friday senior separatist leader and chairman of JKLF, Muhammad Yasin Malik used the issue to castigate the authorities.
“They (government) were reluctant to call for another round of vacations because they want to train students for cultural activities during the coming Independence Day celebrations on August 15,” Malik said.
However, Ahmed believes that if the vacations were announced it would have been because of the “government’s own interests”.
“Some of their relatives must be in the education department and they are doing it only for them, nobody else,” he says.