Thursday, 12 June 2014

Who Is Responsible for Violence in Kashmir?

Who Is Responsible for Violence in Kashmir?


The article “Fuelling the Rage in Kashmir” (EPW, 10 July) by Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal has given some hope that there are persons in the media who observe things closely. Otherwise you would only have national news channels like Times Now calling the stone pelters “rented mobs”.
Just hours after the recent all-party meeting conducted in Srinagar, 36 youth were booked under different acts; some of them under Section 307 of the CrPC (attempt to murder) and most of them under the Public Safety Act (PSA). Does it not show that the meeting was held for some other purpose?
The words of the Congress spokesperson are revealing in this regard. He said to Mehbooba Mufti on CNN IBN on 12 July in a televised debate “We have seen cycles of violence in the past in Kashmir, our coalition will complete its tenure”. These words were appreciated by Mehboob Beg of the National Conference which is heading the present government in Kashmir. Does it not prove they are committing mistakes as in the past and are blind when it comes to Kashmir?
The chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance publicly condemned the death of Amman, who died due to delay in receiving medical aid because of the security arrangements for the prime minister when he visited Kanpur. Why does not Sonia Gandhi speak out when there are deaths of innocents in Kashmir – whether about the horrifying act of Shopian in which two young women were raped and killed or the deaths of 15 young men in just a month, in June.
It is not the Lashkar-e-Taiba or separatists who instigate the youth to pelt stones in Kashmir, it is the union and state governments together which are responsible for the violence. It is the centre and the state which alienate the people of the Kashmir Valley by making absurd statements and conducting staged commissions and investigations. Being so-called educated, I am infuriated by the approach of the government and want to pelt stones myself.

http://www.epw.in/letters/who-responsible-violence-kashmir.html

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Interview Published from America

  
India schoolchildren


FAYAZ BHAT: ‘I’M NOT PESSIMISTIC ABOUT REVIVAL OF RICH EDUCATION SYSTEM’ – INTERVIEW

Fayaz Bhat hails from the Sonawari region in India’s North Kashmir. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation titled ‘Primary Education in a Kashmir Village’ at the department of Sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia, India, a prestigious and renowned central university in New Delhi. Bhat completed his basic education in a conflict torn Kashmir valley. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Masters Degree in Sociology from Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi and also did his Masters Degree in Political Science from the University of Kashmir. Later he completed Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) from Baraktullah University under the supervision of Prof. Gautam Gaynendera, a learned academic and renowned sociologist of India. Working at Jamia Millia under the guidance of Dr. Azra Abidi, a renowned scholar on sociology of education and Gender, Bhat learned the art of critical engagement with the question of primary education in developing world. Additionally he writes on a range of socio-economic and political issues in India particularly in Kashmir valley in various local, national and international newspapers and media groups.
Fayaz Bhat
Fayaz Bhat
Fayaz Bhat as a sociologist has developed some new concepts and theories in social sciences as well. Concepts like, Hidden Steering, Self-Syndrome, Triple Burden, Multi-grade Holding, Ensemble Education, Education Shepherd, Mal-education, Modernization of Social inequalities, etc, go to his credit.
Influenced and inspired by the cultural theory of Ogburn’s concepts of “material and non material culture” and “cultural lag”, Bhat has divided schooling into material and non material and coined the term Schooling Lag, Islamic Lag.
Peter Tase: How do you see education empowering in developing countries like India?
Fayaz Bhat: Education is the only weapon in the hands of developing countries to respond to the sweeping changes of globalization and the knowledge economy. Through education developing countries can assure sustainability of growth, competitiveness, job creation, up-gradation of skills, eradication of poverty and empowerment of marginalised sections of society.
Looking at the long term ends, the education has the capacity to act as an effective instrument of poverty reduction, social and occupational mobility and thereby improvement of equity in the system in developing countries including ours.
India constitutes 17.5% of world’s population and is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025. It is estimated that average age of an Indian will be 29 years in 2020, which will be important work force of the country. As per National Sample Survey of India 92.4% of India’s workforce is in the unorganized sectors. In order to compete in the globalized economy there is need for regular up-gradation of skills of the workforce. India needs to arm its labor force with relevant skills that implies the need for creating a variety of learning and training opportunities. Is there any alternative other than education?
Peter Tase: Since you have been working on education in Jammu and Kashmir State, what are some of your first hand experiences?
Fayaz Bhat: Time and again I have been maintaining that education in Kashmir valley is a state of crisis. The prolonged conflict devastated the basic ethos and basic structure of education. Therefore, education in Kashmir is at a double disadvantage. One set of concerns pertaining to education in Kashmir are the ones that are common to education in India, e.g. teacher absenteeism, decreasing learning achievements, infrastructural crunch, exclusion on the lines of gender, caste and class, etc. Armed conflict has brought with it specific and additional challenges that remain specific to valley, e.g. occupation and destruction of schools, frequent strikes that disrupt school functioning, creation of an environment of fear and uncertainty.
Peter Tase: Could you shed some light on primary education in India’s Kashmir?
Fayaz Bhat: Unlike other states of the country, the right to education is not a fundamental right of the children of Jammu and Kashmir State and that needs a serious rethinking. The state has its own education Act known as Jammu and Kashmir School Education Act, 2002. The Act mandates that “Government shall work on a sustained basis, for enlargement of access to elementary education” i.e. up to class 8th. However, it does not make elementary education a fundamental right in the state.
Like rest of India, there is “Education lag” in Kashmir. That is in material aspects primary education of the state is shining. The literacy rate of the state is jumping. There is almost cent per cent enrollment, every village has primary school at door steps and almost every school has now a building, teachers, and other material things available. But in non material aspects whether it is learning achievements of children, teachers’ perception about students (especially in public schools), gender sensitivity and other non material dimensions, it is lagging.
Primary education in Kashmir is unheeded, ignored and brushed aside. Teachers of a primary school are mostly low salaried, academically less qualified and enjoy low social prestige and status. The so called best brains are seldom posted at primary schools. Also administration engages primary school teachers for census, updating of electoral list, surveys and other administration related jobs, etc. that adds to the existing problems.
This is the stage where I think all problems of school education evolve. Currently we are anything but a quality primary education provider.
Peter Tase: What are main impediments you think education is beset with prevailing conflict in Kashmir Valley?
Fayaz Bhat: The outburst of political unrest in the State especially since 1989 has hit education of the State both materially and non-materially. Shutdowns, sieges, curfews, protests and demonstrations are now a regular fashion and at times ‘separatists’ even come up with calendar of strikes. This has devastating effects on the basic functioning of education system and the “quality” of education in Kashmir valley. I would rather prefer to call it mal-education. Because there is no consensus among scholars on what ‘quality’ constitutes in education.
Peter Tase: What do you mean by Mal-education?
Fayaz Bhat: Mal-education like malnutrition is a situation when our educational system is deficient and lagging in a particular aspect or dimension. The various aspects of education are infrastructure, interaction pattern, moral education, gender neutrality, value neutrality etc. Like deficiency of Vitamin A in the food causes night blindness in humans the deficiency of moral education in schools causes waywardness in society. The deficiency of gender inequality causes gender discrimination. The deficiency of critical education, independence, and freedom may lead to taming and domestication and may promote culture of silence. The deficiency of value neutrality leads to ethnocentrism. This is the debate which is not possible nether feasible to discuss here.
Peter Tase: How do you see education as an agency of peace in a peace deficit zone like Kashmir Valley?
Fayaz Bhat: Who says there is no Peace at all? I believe the real issue is based on the sustenance of peace which every citizen wants. There is no denying that education is a potential remedy for various social, political, economic and other ailments of the society. Whether it is the economic problem, technological lag, techno handicap, low income, unemployment, psychological disturbances, social pathology, political disturbance, ethnic conflict, war or other dissonance, education has a promise especially in reconstruction of society and building peace. Since it is rightly said that “war begins in the mind of men, it is the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed” and there is no mechanism to construct it other than education.
But what needs to be taken care of is that it should be equitable and inclusive education otherwise it can have repercussions that not only hinder peace but lead to a situation that breeds violence and conflict and I would maintain that education is not so inclusive in the valley We have many instances across the world where mal-education germinated seeds of hate and war. The civil war (1990- 1994) and genocide in Rwanda was off shoot of mal-education. Various scholars locate the roots of violence in Pakistan in the faulty educational system that leads to frustration of larger masses as they don’t possess the required skills to be absorbed in the larger structure of the society and hence take to violent means to demonstrate their agency.
Peter Tase: What are your suggestions to improve the holistic education system in Kashmir?
Fayaz Bhat: Solutions come by pondering over the problem seriously. I am not pessimistic about the revival of a rich education system even in the least bid provided a political will and a serious consultation of eminent scholars of education is undertaken. The basic problems which our education is beset with are not monsters and can be amply resolved.
We need to revive the institution of teaching which a lost tradition is and check corruption especially moral corruption in education system besides giving equal access to all. Not only this, the children of war zones need a special attention by the State which unfortunately has never been given.

Peter Tase
Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of Paraguayan Studies and Latin American Affairs in the United States; he is the founder of Paraguay Economic Forum in Milwaukee, United States. Educated at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and Marquette University, Tase is the author of "Simultaneous Dictionary in Five Languages: Guarani, English, Italian, Albanian and Spanish" and "El Dr. FEDERICO FRANCO y Su Mandato Presidencial en la Historia del Paraguay."
Tase has written many articles on Paraguay's current Foreign Policy, Latin American Affairs and MERCOSUR regional trade issues for Eurasia Review and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, D.C.. Peter has appeared on SNT Cerro Cora, Asuncion and appeared in “Tribuna Pública” in TV Publica Paraguay, as well as given interviews for Diario 5 Dias in Paraguay, ABC Color, Ultima Hora, IP Paraguay, Revista PLUS+, Radio Ñandutí, Radio Nacional del Paraguay, www.datamyne.com and Spero News.
Tase completed a Congressional Internship in the Office of Congressman Richard Pombo (CA-11), U.S. House of Representatives, and studied U.S. Government and International Affairs at the Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, D.C.. In 2012 he was an adviser of Foreign Affairs and International trade Issues to the Chairman of the Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry in the National Congress of Paraguay. Peter Tase is fluent in Guarani, Italian, Spanish, Albanian and mainly writes in English and Spanish.

Mid-Day Meals and Beyond

Mid-Day Meals and Beyond

Siddheshwar Shukla’s article “Mid-Day Meal: Nutrition on Paper, Poor Food on the Plate” (EPW, 15 February 2014) was insightful. It highlights some pressing concerns through facts and f­igures on an issue which deals with the physical well-being of children. Nutritious food to schoolchildren is an internationally-identified dimension of quality in education.
It is now established that the mid-day meal scheme has played an important role in increasing enrolment at the elementary level of schooling, which is now almost 97% at all-India level according to the 2013 Annual Status of Education Report. But the question remains, is mere filling of classrooms with children enough? The answer too remains, a big “No”. Despite making strides in enrolment, education quality, especially in government schools, is slipping.
Though the concept of “quality” itself is vague and contested, there are some dimensions of quality in education which are generally agreed upon globally and one of them, identified by UNESCO, is nutritious food, something which the mid-day meal scheme provides in a context where malnutrition and hunger remain widespread.
Shukla deserves appreciation for his contribution which highlights the low quality of mid-day meals, low protein contents and bureaucratic disregard of the issue. When one transcends the maze of quantitative figures it is possible to see and say more. I am reminded of Krishna Kumar’s remark in his 2005 paper for the EFA Global Monitoring Report that “looking at observable parameters of quality exacerbate the problem that the discourse of quality is trying to solve”. There are certain issues and concerns which remain hidden and which cannot be understood only by mathematical, economic and other quantitative models.
While these models help us in some aspects, what really works is inspection of the mid-day meal scheme on the ground. Experience shows that where government agencies are regularly inspected the supply and quality of mid-day meals is far superior to where there is no such inspection. Further, the burden of this scheme has to be shifted from the shoulders of teachers. Teachers get involved in arranging the food and fuel and teaching suffers, often very badly. Not only this, it gives teachers a formal excuse to be irregular, late and absent from teaching.
Fayaz Ahmad Bhat
Jamia Millia Islamia,
NEW DELHI
http://www.epw.in/letters/mid-day-meals-and-beyond.html?ip_login_no_cache=a310572ffeedb88755b6e16dcf67a85d

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Justice

  Why People misinterpret word Justice? It is "Just - ice" which is superlative degree of "Just chill". Freez you body, self, emotions, everything!
The deconstruction of "Justice" is " "Just- ice" that is superlative degree of "just chill"

Friday, 21 February 2014

Law and Lawlessness


This refers to the news about two ministers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) turning vigilantes. There is no
denying the fact that the entire country is experiencing the effects of AAP’srise, including Kashmir where people do not generally show particular interest in other regional or national political parties, except the Congress. However, people in Kashmir now talk and discuss about the AAP; and why not? This new
party has appealed to the common man, whether it is the ending of “VIPculture”, the reduction of electricity tariffs and the supply of free water up to a certain amount. All of this has been appreciated and complimented. However, the recent actions of its Delhi ministers, particularly of its law minister, demonstrate that AAPseems to be too clever by half and seeks to play with popular emotions for political gains. This is very much against the interest and image of the party. The actions of its law minister are not only against the law but morally and ethically condemnable too. I would like to ask the law minister what would be his response if a crowd assembled outside his house, asking the police to raid it? What would he and his family face if the police break into his house on a mere suspicion? And what will be the response of the AAPif t he police do t his? What is worse is that the minister labelled people just because of their colour and geographical background. What these foreigners in India have had to go through is inhuman.
AAPhas galvanised the people with its slogan that everyone is an aam aadmi (common man) including those who are in positions of power in the government. But now the AAPis giving the same answers which other political parties give when their leaders are caught in wrongdoing.
Finally, the AAPmust bear in mind that Delhi is not the north-east of India, nor is it Jammu and Kashmir, where the security forces enjoy the impunity of draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Instead of bringing lawlessness to Delhi, they should work towards bringing the rule of law in these areas of India.

FEBRuary 1, 2014  vol xlix no 5  EPW  Economic & PoliticalWeekly

Sunday, 9 December 2012

social scientist: Kashmir Movement, How Many Options they Have

social scientist: Kashmir Movement, How Many Options they Have: This refers to recent news item regarding Syed Ali Geelani’s threat of starting agitations after Eid-al-Azha. The news has sparked online...

Kashmir Movement, How Many Options they Have


This refers to recent news item regarding Syed Ali Geelani’s threat of starting agitations after Eid-al-Azha. The news has sparked online debate and heated discussions.  After an hour of the news break, one of my friends updated his status on Facebook, “History will bear testimony to the fact that “Calendar revolution brought death to the ever rising revolution’. Our leaders are suffering from 'policy paralysis”.
The update of my friend is not mere depiction of words and sentences but exhibits the state of his mind. He seems fed up, infuriated and dismayed with any course of action which subscribe strike. This may not be state of mind of my friend only there; may be many others who are sailing in the same board.
In response to my friend I wrote on his wall, “Without reading the text, understanding context, jumping to conclusion is most pestilent unfortunate a nation can have. I think if we have sixth sense and understanding of history I don’t think we should have been here”. By these words I just tried to convey, why Geelani came with such a statement, whether he has given a calendar or is just a threat which in political terminology is called diplomacy and most importantly what I want to know - Do we have other option?
My friend was quick enough to respond. He wrote, “Mentally awake leaders never wait for opportunities to arise; they create their own. It took me two years to draw this conclusion with loads of analysis on text and context. Point to stress is do we need out of box thinking now or shall we stick to these old unyielding ways?”
The words and language which my friend used made me understand the severity of aggravation my friend was going through. No doubt he was referring to 2009 and 2010 “unyielding” strikes and martyrdom of hundreds of Kashmiri’s. This is not the question which haunts my friend only but many others. Let me make one thing clear, if Kashmir cause exists any where it is not because of people like me and my friend who enjoy deluxe life in AC rooms outside Kashmir. It exists only and only because people of Kashmir who time and time again nourished the cause with their blood.
The response he came with is not only controversial and illogical but impractical too. Whatever we hear about Kashmir at global level is to large extend due to tactics which he called ‘unyielding’. There is a concept of inertia in physics which says, if a body is at rest it remains at rest or if a body is in motion it remains in motion until it is not disturbed to change that state. The Kashmir movement in its present context is in motion and there are attempts by resisting forces to change the state of Kashmir movement. I do believe that strikes and shutdowns will never bring freedom to Kashmir and too frequent strikes will have negative effect.
The thing here to stress is if tactics are unyielding and fruitless, there may be way out. If there is at all any, why don’t we come up with that? That will yield fruits and save economic, educational what so ever loss we are having with calendars. It is easy to play with words like “think out of box” blah blah but practicality is something different. When Balgangadhar Tilak, in his book Kesari 1904 during India’s freedom struggle painted moderate and constitutional methods of Indian National Congress with croak of a frog, who croak once in a year, he did oppose INC tactics which were based on constitutional methods like Bandhs and present day’s calendars. Tilak did not only just criticize these tactics but came with alternate means and methods. How many of us are ready to go for those means and methods again?
Let me come to his another point, which needs appreciation and admiration, rightly said real and true leaders don’t wait for opportunities, they create them. The opportunities are created or come rarely in history, where we in Ragda 1 and Ragada 2.Without giving credit to any leader of Kashmir, there was great opportunity created during Amarnath Row 2009 where were we, perhaps enjoying our lives outside Kashmir or in Kashmir, concerned with our future and career.  
Kashmir movement is at such a crucial stage where nation needs not our life, time, career or whatever we may call it, but just to shun dreams of deluxe life which you and me are birthing. It is really a misfortune for a nation that people like me belong to it, who have been domesticated and colonized through so called education.  
 http://www.risingkashmir.in/news/how-many-options-do-we-have-35075.aspx

Saturday, 1 December 2012

RTE, Act 2009 and Sociological Apprehensions


On 12 April 2012, in its historical decision the Supreme Court (SC) of India threw its weight behind the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The court upheld the constitutional validity of RTE Act that guarantees children free and compulsory education from the age of 6 to 14 years of age.

The judgment makes it mandatory for the government, local authorities and private schools to reserve 25 percent of their seats for ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’ of society. The decision has wiped away many apprehensions regarding the future of the Act. It has been welcomed by academicians, politicians, journalists and others. The Union minister for human resources development Mr. Kapil Sibal, articulated, “RTE can be a model for the world”. While there has been enthusiastic praise of the judgment, concerns related to quality, finance, ensuring of 25 percent reservation in private schools and change in classroom structure cannot be thrown into the winds.
The amount put aside by Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is only Rs. 25,555 crores for 2012-13, which falls short of the recommended financial requirement of Rs 1.82 lakh crore. From where will the rest of amount come?
According to Kapil Sibal (2012) more than 90 percent of households will have to enroll their wards in government schools. Thus 90 percent of households’ wards will have poor access to education; if at all they are enrolled in schools, as the quality of education in government schools is a matter of serious concern.
There is no clarity on how 25 percent reservation in private schools will be filled. There may be more than one private school in a neighborhood, so how will they decide who will go where?  How will reservation in private schools be monitored?
The 25 percent reservation in private schools will dramatically change the structure of classrooms in schools. Whether diversity of classroom will create democratic learning environment and enhance teaching learning process or will it put children from ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’ in discomfited position?
Concern of Quality Education
One of the primary objectives of Right of Children Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is improving quality education. The quality of elementary education, particularly in government schools, is a matter of serious concern. The quality of school education depends on various variables which includes physical infrastructure, method of teaching, learning environment, type of books, qualification of teachers, number of teachers, attendance of teachers and students and so on.
There has been substantial progress in increasing enrollment with national average now at 98.3 percent (2009-2010) according to official statistics. However, the attendance of pupils in class rooms has declined. In 2007, 73.4 percent students enrolled for Standards I-IV/V were present in class, which has fallen to 70.9 percent by 2011 (EPW, 2012). Fayaz Ahmad (2009) came with the findings that despite lack of staff in government schools, teachers remain absent on rotational bases. He adds that due to vacancies for teacher, absenteeism of teachers and poor infrastructure in government schools classrooms are multi-grade, i.e. one teacher attending to children from different grades in a single classroom. The attendance of teachers and students in schools is directly related with the quality of education.
Furthermore, mere enrollment of children in school does not fulfill the aims of RTE. Amman Madan (2003) argues ‘the question of reform in Indian education has usually been conceived of in narrow ways – putting children in school and getting schools to function efficiently’.
Despite high enrollments in schools 50 percent of children studying in the fifth grade lack the reading skills expected of children in the second grade (Annual Status of Education Report, ASER 2010).
Ensuring 25 percent Reservation
The RTE, Act, 2009 clause, 12 (1) (c) mandates for private schools to admit quarter of their class strength from weaker section and disadvantaged groups 1. The constitutional validity of this clause was challenged in the apex court of country. However on 12, April 2012, a bench of Chief Justice S .H. Kapadia, Justice K. S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar upheld the constitutional validity of the Act.
 In response to the Supreme Court order, HRD minister Kapil Sibal said, “I am very happy that the court has set all controversies at rest. One of the biggest controversies was on whether the 25 percent reservation applies to private schools or not… that controversy has been set to rest.”2
Reacting to the 25 percent reservation Krishna Kumar (2012) penned down “most ambitious among its objectives is the social engineering it proposes by guaranteeing at least 25 percent share of enrolment in unaided fee-charging schools to children whose parents cannot afford the fee.”  Both Krishna Kumar and Kapil Sibal did not give indepth critical insight to the provision. The questions like, what will be the mechanism of selection process of 25 percent children from ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’.  Some private schools are very reputed and provide very high quality of education and some are either at par with government schools or little ahead. There is a hierarchy of private schools which are stratified in quality education. Who will go where what will be the criteria for that? Furthermore Indian society is patriarchal in nature, boys are even served good food in comparison to girls how one can expect parents or guardians will send a girl child to these private schools, if at all they agree to send a girl child to school.  The reservation benefits will go to a particular gender of society. This will further reinforce and reproduce gender bias and social inequality in society. Thus RTE itself creates a vacuum for “reproduction of culture”. Fayaz Ahmad (2009) underlines, parents prefer schooling for their girl child but prefer government schools for them in comparison to a male child.
The important finding which has been revealed by Fayaz Ahmad (2009) is the enrollment shown in schools was higher than what actually it was. This was done to get mid-day meals for more and more children so that teachers can save some money to bear other hidden expenditures and avoid wrath of authorities for poor enrollment. Despite employment of Resource Persons and Zonal Resource Persons by Jammu and Kashmir government in the department of school education ,who are obliged to ensure smooth and normal functioning of schools, such kind of loopholes are observed, how can the government ensure that private schools will follow the provision of 25 percent reservation.
Change in the Structure of Classroom and Beyond. 
The RTE Act directed all schools, including privately -run schools, to reserve 25 percent of their seats for students from socially and economically backward families. That means, quarter of students in classes will be from marginalized section of the society. This will change the structure of classes.
Krishna Kumar (2012) maintains “a classroom reflecting life’s diversity will benefit children of all strata while enriching teaching experience.” He further adds “classroom life will now be experientially and linguistically richer. It will be easier to illustrate complex issues with examples drawn from children’s own lives.” He rightly articulates that class room will reflect diversity and will be experientially and linguistically richer. But his argument that classroom diversity will benefit children from weaker section of society is hypothetical and ambiguous.
School education can’t be separated from its social context, those who teach and learn carry with them attitudes, beliefs, habits, customs, orientations which differ from class to class.  The elite schools have their own culture which suits to children of upper class. The teaching-learning environment at these schools suits children of upper class while children from weaker section may find themselves alienated from the schools. Bernstein (1971) while examining the mode of communication of working and middle class argues that both have different mode of communication and most of the teachers in schools belong to middle class which gives edge to middle class children in learning. Bourdieu(1977) empirical research in France explores that performance of a child in school on his access to cultural capital. He maintains that children of upper classes are able to understand contents of knowledge better than their counterparts belonging to marginalized sections of society.
The present experience of India with mixed or diversified classroom is not encouraging. The children from marginalized sections of society are discriminated in the classroom on the bases of gender, caste, and ethnicity. Despite Indian constitution strictly prohibits discrimination on the bases of caste and other social backgrounds and makes it a punishable act yet children from marginalized sections are discriminated in schools. How can discrimination of ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections be prevented?
There are various theoretical and empirical studies which have come up with that children from lower classes are at a backfoot in schools in the learning process. They are more vulnerable when enrolled in elite schools.
Conclusion
Indian children now have a precious right to receive free and compulsory education from the ages of 6 to 14 years of age. The government will bear all the expenditures of schooling. The act has mandated for private schools to reserve quarter of classroom strength for deprived sections of society, which will change the structure of classrooms in elite schools to school who are not yet enrolled.  However, there are many apprehensions with regard to achieving desired goals through RTE. By pressing for 25 percent reservation for the ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’ of society, government has acknowledged poor quality in government schools where more than 90 percent of households in the country will have to enroll their children even if 25 percent reservation is implemented in true sense. This means that there will be further diversification of society in India. There are also concerns whether those enrolled in private schools will cope and adjust with education system and culture of elite schools.  There are many other loop holes which are pressing and challenging in the way of RTE: quality education, funding, teacher skills and enhance of reservation policy are some major concerns.
Despite the flaws in the way of RTE Act, it is important to simultaneously ensure proper implementation of the Act.
—————————————-
Footnotes
  1. The Gazette of India, http://eoc.du.ac.in/RTE%20-%20notified.pdf
  2. Dhananjay Mahapatra & Himanshi Dhawan(2012) Times of India,  RTE:Govt Subsidy to be based on KV expenditure, New Delhi, 13 April.
References
Ahmad, Fayaz (2009) “ A Sociological Study of Primary Education Among Girls: With Special Reference to Block Hajin of District Bandipora” Dissertation, Barkatullah University.
Annual Status of Educational Report (2010): “Annual Status of Educational Report ( Rural) , assessed 21April 2012: http://www.pratham.org/aser08/ASER_2010_Report.pdf
Bernstein, B (1973): “Class Codes and Control: Applied Studies towards a Sociology of Language”, London, Routledge Kegan Paul.
Boourdieu,P (1977): “ Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction”, In Karabel, J and A. H, Halsey, (ed), Power and Ideology in Education.OUP
Economic and Political Weekly (2012): “The Right to learn: Two Years after the Right to Education Act, the government needs to focus on quality”,16 April, Vol XLVII No 16.
Kumar, Krishna (2012): “Let a hundred children blossom: A classroom reflecting life’s diversity will benefit children of all strata while enriching teaching experience.”, The Hindu, Delhi,20 April 2012.
Madan, Amman (2003): Education as Vision for Social Change, Economic and Political Weekly May 31, 2003 pp.2135-2136
Sibal, Kapil (2012): “Admitting kids from weaker sections while not lowering quality of teaching will be difficult for pvt schools, but it can be done: RTE Can Be A Model For The World” The Times of India, New Delhi, 20 April.
 http://www.jamiajournal.com/2012/04/24/right-to-education-act-a-cricitical-analysis/

    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Of Education


    Education has been used as a tool of dominance
    Fayaz Ahmad Bhat
    This has reference to the editorial ‘Rein Them in’ published in Rising Kashmir on May 17, 2011.  It would be ungrateful not to credit the Newspaper for the credible editorial. I hardly find editorial on this important issue in local dailies. The editorial not only brings forth how social reality is being constructed but drew attention towards the fact that education has turned into a commercial entity.
    There is no denying that education has turned into one among the most profit generating sectors. It would be not wrong to equate private education institutions like shopping malls, where ‘education’ is being sold on heavy prices. As far as constitution provisions are concerned P M Bakshi, constitutional expert, in his book ‘Constitution of India’ says “Education per se has so far not been regarded a trade or business where profit is a motive.”
    The Supreme Court of India in TMA VS Government of Karnataka case Judgment in 2003 said it is difficult to comprehend that education per se will not fall under Article 1(g). All citizens shall have right to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation, trade or business. Section 11.1.b of the RTE says that schools run for profit by any individual, group or association of individuals or any other persons shall not receive recognition from the government. However this section will not be binding on the states as it is not a part of the act. 
    Recently the Prime Minister of India expressed concern over the ‘worrisome barrier’ that for profit educational institutions are barriers to freer access to knowledge for all citizens of the country. There is a hell difference between words and deeds. The seriousness of government regarded the issue is clear. On the one hand it makes tall claims for free and fair education to all; on the other hand, with the policies of neo-liberalism and commercialization, education too is being commercialized. Furthermore it is beyond one comprehension why section 11.1.b of the RTE is not binding on states, inspite they claim they are serious and concerned about towering commercialization of ‘education’.
    If we will peep into the history we will come to know that how education has been used as a tool of dominance by those who have upper hand in society. In Bourdieu’s words education is nothing but a tool to reproduce culture of those who are dominant in society. Carnoy in his book ‘Education as cultural Imperialism’ writes, ‘in Brazil, the Jesuits formed communities with schools to turn nomadic Indians into plantation labour; in Peru another group of Jesuits helped Inca nobility became intermediaries between the Spanish Vice royalty and former Inca subjects; the schooled nobility were made responsible for assigning Indian labour to the Spanish mines and plantations and for collecting taxes’.
    Education was used by British to colonise Indian during colonial rule, now same is being done to other colonise of the world. There are infinite number of examples in the history that demonstrate the same. In every epoch of history same has been the case demands of market have been fulfilled through the schools.
    The only solution to this lies in Ivan Illich’s concept of De-schooling. De-schooling is not an elimination of schools but their disestablishment. The main difference between two is that de-schooling means closing down of schools and securing the use of public funds to support schools. The unfortunate thing is that whenever, wherever any one has raised the voice against exploitation, oppression and stood by disinherited or downtrodden, he has been labelled as radical, socialist and communist.
    The need of the hour is to deconstruct whole system of education.
    http://www.risingkashmir.in/news/deconstruct-education-system-10152.aspx

    Soaring Drug Business in Kashmir


    Soaring drug business

    Fayaz Ahmad Bhat
    This is in response to news,  “Death for addicts, drug merchants .It is much required and obligatory, not only act but act tough and concrete on drug abuser, peddlers who are directly or indirectly involved in this unethical activity. This not only gobbles money but also consume life. Drug addiction not only affects the victim but families and societies.
    The decision to implement Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) by police is a welcome step. Every responsible citizen of the state should cooperate with police to over root this menace from the society and save our young generation.
    Chemists and druggists have an important role to play in eradicating this menace. But the question is: are they only the people who are indulged in this illicit trade? The answer is no. This trade is profitably run by butchers, provision shops etc. This isn’t a hypothetical assertion but in our village it was found that shopkeepers other than chemists like butchers, provision shops, hosiery and cosmetic shops were openly selling Rexcof.  A young boy about 15 years old was making home delivery of Rexcof in cane.  Every day hundreds of bottles were seized and destroyed. Realising the severity and complexity of the issue, the police and drug officials were informed. Those days there was a lady drug inspector in Baramulla when she visited the village, she checked licenses of chemists and threatened them of dire consequences if found involved in this unethical practice. But when asked about involvement of other shopkeepers she expressed her limitation: ‘it is not my jurisdiction it is a matter of police’.
    I appreciate the move and agree with SSP Srinagar, Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari that chemists and druggists have to play more active role in checking drug abuse. No doubt a above mentioned people have play a role but what about police. It is important to make stockiest and distributors more accountable.
    What is required is to open rehabilitate centres where drug addicts will be provided psychological treatment. Hate crime not the criminal. Overthrow of criminal from society is not a solution; defeating crime is.
    http://www.risingkashmir.in/news/soaring-drug-business-9076.aspx

    Drug Policy


    Chemists enjoy

    New Drug Policy is more dangerous it will worsen the situation

    DRUG POLICY BY FAYAZ AHMAD BHAT

    This is in response to news ‘Cabinet approves Drug Policy; Doctors To Prescribe Generic Name Of Medicines’ according to news the state cabinets approval to new drug policy which will pave   way for reorganization the medicine procurement and checking the influx of spurious drugs in the State.. The state of Jammu and Kashmir no doubt needed a clear, strict and honest drug policy that will streamline the medicine procurement and checking the influx of spurious drugs in the State. It is very pleasing that state government at last has keyed out the main roots of growing and spreading nuisance of spurious and unauthentic medicines in the state in general and valley in particular as more than 60%of total sold drugs in the state are sold in the valley. The decision at full volume exposes the nexus between some pharma companies and self interested, moral less doctors. However there is much need and scope for more steps in stopping this menace. Government has to think something different and go much beyond to this policy.
    Though the present step of government is praiseworthy but to expect any good from the policy is not wise. The policy cannot improve the condition any more even it may worsen the situation. This may be shocking and disagreeing argument for most of the readers but it is a bitter and heart piercing reality. This policy will worsen the condition in the state and create enough space and vacuum for sale of spurious drugs in the state. The policy will give free hands to chemists and druggists to sell spurious and third rated drugs. Now there will be no bar on them how and where to cut the throats of common masses. Restricting doctors to prescribe medicines of particular companies no doubt means to restrict them from favoring any specific companies but what about chemists? What about doctors who do run private clinics? They may prescribe there by salt name but they will sell what favour them and what they want.
    There are medicines in the market which do cost much more to patients than branded drugs. These drugs actually cost very less to chemists and druggists but MRP on these drugs is much high say for example the Nicip (Nimsulide) of Cipla pharmaceuticals a multinational company which has launched generic operation way back in the state costs Rs 27 per strip to patients as per MRP but a strip costs maximum Rs 8 to druggists and chemists. The same salt of the registered and ethically operating companies only cost Rs 11 to 13 per strip to patients (Refer to Nimca of Ipca and Nimsulide of Mankind Pharma). Druggists and chemists earn 20 to 25% in such drug but greed marred every one and no one has overcome it. Here I have just cited a pain killer or antipyretic and anti inflammatory drugs. When we do talk about antibiotics and tonics it is worse. I request government to rethink about its new drug policy and come with a new one which will not create space and vacuum for any one. I also do urge doctors to come forward and create awareness among policy makers and formulators at the end it is there image which is at stake. Chemists may sell Aata it is the patient who will suffer and tarnish the image of a doctor.
    Negating current drug policy no way means that doctors should be given free hands but I only mean to say don’t give any one vacuum and space to spread business of spurious and third class drugs. When pesticide companies are required to fulfill certain formalities and procedures before operating in the state. Why state government cannot come with such a policy even stricter than this. After all it is an issue associated to human lives. 

    http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2012/Jan/16/chemists-enjoy-3.asp