In a progressive move that underscores the commitment to prioritise the welfare and education of its young minds, the School Education Department (SED) of Jammu and Kashmir has issued a compelling directive. This directive, like a breath of fresh air, sweeps away the antiquated practice of making students queue for hours during official visits and abolishing extravagant customs that have persisted for far too long. The edict, emanating from the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK), carries with it a powerful message – it’s time to usher in a more compassionate and sustainable approach within the hallowed halls of our educational institutions. The circular penned by the DSEK not only admonishes the existing practices but also sheds light on the detrimental consequences they bear on our young scholars. One of the primary concerns voiced by the DSEK revolves around the unjust squandering of students’ precious time. Forcing them to endure extended hours in queues not only disrupts their valuable learning hours but also hampers productivity and chips away at their self-esteem. Education, the bedrock of their future, should never be compromised for the sake of antiquated customs. Moreover, the mental and emotional well-being of these students hangs precariously in the balance as they are subjected to the unnecessary stress brought about by these exhausting rituals. Our schools should be sanctuaries for growth, nurturing the young minds with compassion and empathy, rather than subjecting them to undue pressure. The warning issued by the SED also sheds light on an aspect that often goes unnoticed – the environmental impact. The practice of gifting artificial floral bouquets or garlands made from non-biodegradable materials to visiting officers or guests may have been commonplace, but it has been silently contributing to environmental pollution during disposal. As we grapple with global environmental crises, it is imperative that we align our actions with sustainable practices. Our schools can lead the way in this endeavour. Furthermore, the circular shines a light on the lavish expenditures associated with hospitality and catering arrangements during school functions. These extravagant displays not only divert resources away from the core educational mission but also create a sense of discrimination among students. Those who are not privy to such luxuries during events may understandably feel excluded, fostering an unhealthy atmosphere of inequality.
The directive from the School Education Department to abandon outdated customs and embrace a more compassionate and sustainable approach is a beacon of hope. It signifies a brighter, greener, and kinder future for our students, where education is the foremost priority, and where our actions echo the harmonious beauty of the valley itself.
The inefficiency and time consumption involved in welcoming new officers with bulk artificial garlands are also brought to the fore. The department’s plea for simpler, more efficient methods that respect the time and dignity of both students and guests is not just a request but a call for a cultural shift in how we welcome visitors. The SED advocates for a more efficient, respectful, and innovative approach to guest receptions. Instead of the non-biodegradable floral arrangements that burden our environment, they propose a simple switch to natural flowers. These not only exude a natural charm but also align with the growing global call for sustainable practices. Similarly, catering should be modest, offering guests and students a humble cup of tea and snacks. This shift, while seemingly small, reflects a shift in priorities – from extravagant displays to a focus on meaningful interactions. Let’s applaud this directive by the School Education Department. It is a testament to their commitment to nurturing a generation that will not only excel academically but also emerge as environmentally conscious and socially aware citizens. The move towards a more sustainable, equitable, and compassionate educational system is not just commendable; it is a step in the right direction. In summary, the tranquil landscapes of Kashmir, where nature’s beauty is at its zenith, it is only fitting that our educational institutions set an example by embracing eco-friendly practices. As we prepare our students for the challenges of the future, let us not forget that their education extends beyond textbooks. It encompasses values, empathy, and a deep sense of responsibility towards the environment and society. The winds of change are blowing through the educational institutions of the Kashmir Valley. The directive from the School Education Department to abandon outdated customs and embrace a more compassionate and sustainable approach is a beacon of hope. It signifies a brighter, greener, and kinder future for our students, where education is the foremost priority, and where our actions echo the harmonious beauty of the valley itself.
(The author an educator by profession has mailed this article tob Kashmir Horizon” for publication in this newspaper. The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the author and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)