Coaching centers will be asked to shut shops for 90 days, stone pelting not panacea to everything: Altal Bukahri

Altaf Bukhari

Srinagar: Minister for School Education Syed Altaf Bukahri on Sunday said that the department will pass a formal order to ask coaching centers to “shut” their “shops” for at least 90 days with immediate effect and would revoke it after a review.

“We don’t want to shift focus. My focus is to have proper schooling. We were looking at distractions and one of the distractions we found was coaching centers. Perhaps the attendance of the students in coaching centers is more than schools. We by request and by passing an official order will ask coaching centers to shut their shops,” Education minister Altaf Bukhari told reporters after a meeting of chief education officers, zonal education officers and principals of higher secondary schools here.

Asked for how long the order will operate, the minister said: “In the first instance it would be for 90 days and we will review it later.”

Asked whether the government has been able to evolve any mechanism to prevent the protests, he according to GNS said: “See the mechanism is not for protests. Our focus should be that there are no distractions to the students. Today I saw lot be debated in newspapers. It’s simple that we are the custodian of the students. Our focus is entirely to see that student face no distraction. One of the distractions is that when our students take to streets, there are some elements, who are not our colleges or schools students, who get mingled with our students and they start pelting stones.”

He added: “Pelting stones is not the solution to everything. How can stone pelting give justice to the minor victim? Instead, we are doing injustice with somebody to whom we pelt stones upon. We are pelting stones on our own vehicles or our visitors. We don’t think of a ponny walla, houseboat owner or boatman who gets sustenance for the entire year (from tourism season.) Some of them have to arrange for the marriage of their daughters through this income only.”

He said that people who indulge in stone pelting don’t think how their action impacts the entire society.

“My mandate is to see how we can keep education system working. Our students are intelligent and I don’t want that they are lesser educated compared to their counterparts from outside. I can tell you with certainty that if we are able to provide the better atmosphere, they will excel and there will be none to compete with them.”

Asked whether schools and college will be reopened tomorrow, he said, “Opening or closing of colleges has nothing to do with my meeting. I am only trying to see how we can maintain peace and tranquility in these institutions. The decision (to close or keeping open schools and colleges) lies with directors and principles of schools and colleges and I don’t see any big reason why they should not.”

Asked about an earlier decision of the government to take the decision on closing and reopening of colleges and schools was left to the divisional and district authorities, he said: “We need do it as a team. Law and order is a problem which is dealt by them. It is a conscious decision. I would like to appeal people and parents to help us in keeping schools and colleges open. Please take care of students at the family level also and they should not get an impression that they are unwanted rather they should get the feeling that they are very special. The students are emotionally hurt by whatever is happening and we have to take care of all this. I request parents to help me and assure them I will provide the best education to them.”

He also asked the director school education Kashmir to submit the list of teachers, masters, and lecturers who are working in private coaching centers for “necessary action.”

The decision has been taken in view of widespread student protests over the gruesome gang rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua.

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