As Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education (JKBOSE) disclosed the date sheets for examination of class 10th and 12th, the blame-game has yet again taken the forefront of debates. The examination falls exactly between Municipal and Panchayat polls in the state.

The sudden announcement by JKBOSE has not only shaken the students, but it also nullified their earlier claims of shifting the examination session from November to March, after the devastating flood disturbances in 2014.

Dating back to February this year, according to a news report published in a Kashmir Daily, Greater Kashmir, the chairman of Private Schools Association Kashmir, G N Var, also welcomed the proposal of shifting the exam session, and thought it as a positive step. In the same report, Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Forum President, Abdul Qayoom Wani, also stated it as a positive step saying, “In the past, this initiative was sabotaged by some vested interests as they believe that shifting of exams will disturb their schedule of spending winters outside state.”

Citing the reason of incomplete syllabus due to frequent Hartals (Shutdown), and ‘unethical date sheet’ by the state board committee, students believe that the sword is now hanging at the edge of their neck.

The Kashmir Walla talked to a handful of students, addressing their issues.

Syed Asrar, class 10 student from Srinagar British School said that the syllabus is not complete yet. “They have not even covered 70% of it,” he said. “Our golden test (prelims) are supposed to finish by 3 October. They are putting us in the murky waters.”  Adding to that, Asrar said, “They should have announced date sheet two months back, so that we could prepare for exams easily. Now the pressure is on us, they just want their work done.”

After the earlier notification in September, the students approached the board authorities for deferring their examination. “We are in hypertension; what to do? Whether to complete syllabus or revise the completed part,” said another student from a Srinagar based school.

Previous year, the exams were scheduled in mid-November, but this year students were demanding deferment in the date sheet. They believe it would help them to plan their schedule well, and sustain better marks. Supporting the demand, G N Var told The Kashmir Walla that  some schools have completed their syllabus but due to internal issues, a few private schools have not completed their syllabus. “The board should look into the matter,” said Var.

Mir Seeneen, a class 12 student from Srinagar, said, “JKBOSE is trying to politicize the education. Due to the upcoming elections, they have molded our timetable accordingly. It is highly condemnable.” Justifying the demand to defer the date sheet, Seeneen added, “The number of working days are already very less in schools because of the turmoil situations in Kashmir. How can one study like this?”

Var also admitted of need to re-look into the education policies of the state. “Areas like south Kashmir and downtown Srinagar, the working days are too less to complete the syllabus. Obviously the students of these areas are at disadvantageous position,” he added. He also stated that such important and significant decisions should not be taken unless ‘taking every stake-holder’ on board.

Hoping for a change in the date sheet, the students are expecting to get enough time to prepare for board examination, lack of which puts their career at stake along with traumatic mental pressure.

Talking about the mental trauma a student has to go through because of such incidents, Seeneen added, “Students are not well prepared. The overall merit of students may suffer a great fall. Such failure leads to spurious means like suicide and mental instability.”

“We request board authorities to defer exams as future of thousands of students is at stake. Education is at stake!” she added.

Last week, dozens of students of class 11 staged protests also in Srinagar, demanding deferment of exams till mid-November. Earlier the Director of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo had also asked the Board for deferment of exams to mid-November but no decision has been taken yet.

Photograph by Vikar Syed

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