The Invisible State of Education in the Kashmir Valley
This Article has stories from the villages of Jammu and Kashmir about the condition of education in the state. These stories are told by the Volunteers of Project Parwaaz who teach these kids on phone call from all over India.
The State of Education
Neelesh Dullo, A volunteer from Project Parwaaz was assigned to teach History to 3 Siblings and their neighbor in Doda District, J&K. The kids are in Class 10th so he had to start with the Nationalism in Europe chapter. In the first class Neelesh realized that the kids are not even aware about what a state, country or continent meant, teaching them Nationalism in Europe was out of question.
These children have never watched a film, never seen a television.This speaks volumes of the condition in which the children are growing up.
I was in disbelief, but similar stories started coming from other volunteers. Class 10th children have difficulty in writing simple words,they get confused in alphabets at times.
Aiesha Jaan Wani, my Co-founder at Project Parwaaz started this initiative out of a desperate need. The kids in her village Marmat had not been able to attend regular schools for almost a year due to difficult conditions in the state.
She had been teaching the children of migrant laborers in Jammu since last couple of years and wanted to enable this for other underprivileged children in the state. She explains that the kids lack immensely in the basic concepts. People want their children to progress, but that doesn’t help. Neither the children nor their parents have any clue about the future of the kids.
Challenges on the ground
Our volunteers keep on sharing Instances where the children lack in reading, pronunciations grammar,concepts, usage of tenses and other skills. This is a problem that we realized on the way. We started with a plan to teach the course material to the children, but instead now the program has to adjust to cater the basics to the children. It has been a delight to watch how empathically the volunteers shifted gears.
A woman came to know that children in her village are being taught on the phone, she desperately wanted to enroll her daughter Sania. She contacted us through a neighbor, her family did not have a phone. Before we could make arrangements, the next day we came to know that this woman had used all her savings to buy a phone so that her daughter could study.
The Desire to learn
Despite such difficulties, the drive and innocence of these children creates a spark in the volunteers to keep going. As Neelesh wrote ‘ I could feel their desire and excitement to learn, the desire to understand, It was empowering’.
The conditions are so poor and the drive to learn is so profound. We can only wonder what led to this gap in the valley.
There are loads of difficulties on the ground. Poor Network, Poor Internet, Unavailability of books, financial hurdles, lack of awareness and foundation of these kids. We hope small steps over time can bring a big change.
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