DSEK inaugurates round table conference on ‘Safeguarding Schools Strengthening Srinagar’

DSEK inaugurates round table conference on ‘Safeguarding Schools Strengthening Srinagar’

Srinagar : Safeguarding Schools Strengthening Srinagar, was the theme of a Round Table organised by Seeking Modern Applications for Real Transformation(SMART), a not for profit from Delhi in collaboration with Help Foundation, an NGO devoted to the development of Kashmir. Inaugurated by GN Itoo, Director School Education, Kashmir and attended by eminent educationalists, representatives of the State Education Department, Civil Society members, academia, principals and students, the round table discussed the role of schools in building strong cities, tweaking curriculum to include critical thinking, building compassion, understanding and become safe spaces where children can interact without fear of violence and radical ideologies. Some of the speakers included Parvez Kaul, Mohammad Rafi, Yasmeen Ashai, M Salim Beig, Neerja Mattoo, Hilal Ahmad and Danish from UNICEF.
Dr Ghulam Nabi Itoo, accepted that a lot has been done a lot needs to be done. Teacher student communication, state students communication, improvement in curriculum, building of boundaries of schools and toilets in all the 24000 plus schools is required. We are working towards it. Today our children are going to professional colleges medicine, engineering, computer sciences. But the numbers are not enough.

At the inaugural, Archana Kapoor, quoted Nelson Mandela and said that education is the weapon that can be used to change the world. But when quality education is at risk, we risk everything –our future, our lives and hope.

Mohammad Shafi Pandit, former Chairman Public Services Commission, chaired the inaugural session. He said that we have lost what we could have gained during this period of turmoil, If only schools were safeguarded the future could have been assured.

Professor Yasmeen Ashai, Principal Amar Singh College said that education gives students a vital link to normality while encouraging them to maintain hope and pursue their aspirations even in the most difficult circumstances.
Highlighting some of the issues that ail the education system the participants deliberated on solutions and categorised their recommendations into policy issues, social issues, administrative issues and those which could be handled by schools themselves. The concerns discussed in a closed door deliberation exercise ranged from the children getting used to not giving exams on various pretexts to realistic situations of closure of schools in account of the prevailing conflict.

Going by Eric Erikson’s theory of “Identity development during adolescence” a child achieves his/her identity in four comprehensive stages, in which the most crucial is the phase of education and schooling. That is when S/he recognizes her/his ability, identity, and builds life time values and goals. Childhood is the period for building the cognitive skills and brain, whereas adolescence is the period when one develops intellectually and physically. If the environment both at home and outside is not conducive for this growth then it impacts the sense of identity. Living in fear and trauma is the worst possible situation for adolescents.
This is just the beginning of the series of discussions and we hope to continue engaging on this topic in future too. The outcome of this round table will be presented in the form of a white paper to both the Central and State Government.

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