What went wrong with Indian higher education

What went wrong with Indian higher education

The first generation of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) came up between the 1960s and 1990s, a different world. Today, we are not only in the middle of Industry 4.0, but also wide-spread disruption due to other factors. Of course, there is automation that is changing the nature of jobs and learning. There is climate change too, higher urbanisation, growing income equalities, and anti-globalisation resulting from hyper-nationalism.

When Pankaj Chandra took over as the Vice Chancellor of Ahmedabad University, a private, non-profit institution offering programmes in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies, he asked two fundamental questions:  What does all these disruption do to the world of education? And how do you prepare the young socially and intellectually in this environment?

Ahmedabad University is a fairly new kid on the block – it was established in 2009. There is no historical baggage, which means that there is an opportunity to build an institution that is different, both culturally as well as in terms of learning. Chandra, the former Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, has been part of many committees on education. Two of them were the Government of India Committee on Rejuvenation of Higher Education (Yashpal Committee) that re-looked at the Indian Higher Education system and the committee on the Autonomy of Central Institutions. When he joined Ahmedabad University as Vice Chancellor (Sanjay Lalbhai, Chairman and Managing Director, Arvind Limited, is the Chancellor), Chandra said he wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

Business Today chatted with him to understand the issues plaguing higher education and what is it he was trying to do differently. First, what went wrong with Indian higher education institutions? Chandra points to six broad problems.

Quality education is expensive. India has severely under-invested in education over the last 40 years. “Therefore, we see top institutions with very poor facilities, not much investment in R&D, laboratories where equipment sits idle,” he says.

The second issue is about expansion and it dates back to the 1960s. “We expanded education very rapidly – India has larger number of institutions than China, both in terms of colleges and universities. The only way the government could manage is by standardisation. In that process, education got standardised and we forgot that education was about real people and real people are very different from each other. We created one big frame where examinations became the only way to judge merit. If examinations are the only way of getting merit, all the ills followed like coaching classes; anybody who could get 95 per cent is celebrated in society; those who got 50-60 per cent faced a loss of esteem in the society. People thought teaching in a standard way is the best thing to do because it leads to exams and outcomes. Along with standardisation, we said we don’t need to look at the world. We need to look at India,” Chandra says.

Third is about people. Indian institutions, the Vice Chancellor says, have always managed to get very good people, albeit in smaller numbers. Nevertheless, they had no reason to perform. “We never said if you don’t do research, you will not get promoted. It was never that your research should contribute to societal problems.”

Next, came the regulator. Different bodies who formulated rules and regulations for the universities. “Education has to be done one child at a time, one university at a time,” Chandra says. “We provided no flexibility and created water tight rules which are applicable to everybody. It destroyed the good ones who could have taken the destiny in their own hands and move on.”

In addition to the above, over the last few decades, the Indian society started to believe that they can do well without academic institutions, Chandra states. “Their engagement happens till the time their kids get into better colleges and from the better colleges to better companies. After that they don’t think they have anything else to contribute. It is the amalgamation of regulators and society that don’t see that higher education institutions must become the most important agent of change in the society. That’s why we lost out,” he says.

His last point has to do with what we imagine are the very top institutions in India today. Chandra mentions that many of these institutions live on the laurels of controlling the two ends – “the scarcity of the number of seats so admission becomes very difficult and hence your status increases; at the other end, the scarcity of very good talent in the industry. So they will pick you (the student) up.” There is a big box in the middle, which is institutional culture meant to advance knowledge, build new courses and remain at the frontier of practice from where the industry could draw on. This rarely happens in India. “Many of our institutions post the 1960s have got into a structural problem. No problem in society today can be solved by a single discipline. If I want to solve traffic at a crossing, it can be seen as a logistics-managerial problem or a civil engineering and transportation problem. Actually, neither of them can solve the problem because it is about understanding the anxiety of a person who reaches that crossing; it is a problem of psychology (among other things),” Chandra says. “No single problem today can be solved by a single discipline. You need multiple inputs from different disciplines. All of our tier-one institutions are stand-alone institutions. They are either management, or science, or technology or medical or law. They don’t bring all of them together which is needed to create the right mindset and the knowledge base to solve a problem,” he adds.

Ahmedabad University, Chandra says, is now trying a “phenomenal” inter-discipline approach. It is less about taking one course in philosophy and another in history; it is about building a course where multiple perspectives from different disciplines are addressed. The university is designing its programmes around four intersecting axis. The first axis has data, materials, biology and behaviour. The second axis comprises elements such as transport, energy and food among others. The third axis is air, water, land and forest, which are the natural resources under stress. The last axis is about individual and community.

Why are these four axis worth the attention? “Many disciplines of education and learning revolve around elements of these axis. Data has maths, computer science, statistics; material has engineering, science, manufacturing. Behaviour has sociology, anthropology, psychology etc. New challenges in the society and new opportunity lies at the intersection of these axis,” Chandra says, and explains with two examples. A public health person who wants to work for a consulting company is actually working on behaviour, heath, water, and on community. An IT guy working to develop a new software for Bengaluru airport is working on data, transport, air and on individuals.

Apart from the inter-discipline approach, the university is also working on an improved pedagogy that engages students more, while building the curiosity embedded in research training. “It is not about publishing research; it is about researching,” Chandra says.

[“source=businesstoday”]

‘Pupil poverty’ pressure on school cash

Purse

Schools in England are having to “pick up the pieces” for families in poverty, including giving food and clothes to children, head teachers warn.

But, they say, that is unsustainable when schools are facing “funding cuts”.

Heads will raise their concerns at the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) annual conference.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds will tell the conference he is setting up an expert advisory group to help teachers with “the pressures of the job”.

The advisory group, including the mental health charity Mind and teachers’ representatives, will look at ways to improve wellbeing among teachers and to tackle stress.

Providing shoes as well as lessons

But the head teachers’ conference in Birmingham will hear complaints that pressure in school is being exacerbated by inadequate levels of funding.

Many schools face “severe cuts”, says ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton, but they are still expected to be an “unofficial fourth emergency service for poor and vulnerable children”.

ProtestImage copyrightPA
Image captionHead teachers have been protesting against budget shortages in schools

“A decade of austerity has wreaked havoc with the social fabric of the nation and schools have been left to pick up the pieces,” says Mr Barton.

He accuses politicians of having a “fixation with Brexit” while failing to address the struggles of impoverished families and the lack of investment in schools.

  • Head teachers protest about lack of response to funding warnings
  • Social mobility so frozen ‘will take five generations for poor to reach average income’
  • Most child poverty now in working families

Sarah Bone, head teacher of Headlands School, in Bridlington, says she sees “too many children with no heating in the home, no food in the cupboards, washing themselves with cold water, walking to school with holes in their shoes and trousers that are ill fitted”.

ClassroomImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionHeads say funding problems for schools add to the pressure on teachers

Edward Conway, head of St Michael’s Catholic High School in Watford, says: “Pupil poverty has increased significantly over the past eight years, with us providing food, clothing, equipment and securing funds from charitable organisations to provide essential items such as beds and fridges.”

Widening gap

The head teachers’ union has canvassed the views of school leaders, whose comments include: “When schools have to buy shoes for children to wear to school on a regular basis, we must have a problem.”

Another head said: “In 24 years of education, I have not seen the extent of poverty like this.

“Children are coming to school hungry, dirty and without the basics to set them up for life.

“The gap between those that have and those that do not is rising and is stark.”

DeprivationImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Head teachers have been campaigning over school budget shortages – with claims of fewer staff, bigger classes and teachers having to carry out support tasks, even cleaning the toilets.

Heads have linked this to problems recruiting teachers and to staff quitting their jobs.

The education secretary will tell the conference that he is creating a panel of experts to find ways to reduce stress and provide more support for teachers.

Reducing stress

“Like any really important job, teaching comes with its own challenges and, whilst rewarding, I don’t need to tell you how stressful it can be,” Mr Hinds will tell the conference.

“As a society, there is a much greater level of understanding about mental health and wellbeing and it is something many of you raise with me when I visit your schools.

Damian HindsImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionDamian Hinds is setting up an advisory group to address stress and improve wellbeing among teachers

“Whilst those conversations are focused on supporting your students, I’m clear that your wellbeing is also something we need to prioritise.”

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, says: “Mental health problems at work are common in all workplaces – and although we have made great strides, mental health is still a taboo subject.

“The first, and arguably most important, step will be to start a conversation about mental health that empowers teachers and make sure they have access to the right training and guidance to support themselves, their colleagues and their students.”

[“source=bbc”]

That scholarship may be subject to income tax

GP: College kids walking on campus

If your child is deciding between two schools based on a financial aid package, be sure to weigh the taxes that may accompany the offer.

Families depend on scholarships, assistantships and grants to help them afford higher education.

Indeed, the annual cost of tuition, fees, room and board at a public four-year college hit $19,080 for the 2018-2019 school year, according to the College Board. And it was $46,680 for private schools.

The upside of scholarships and other “free money” opportunities is that you don’t have to pay them back, unlike loans. However, there is a catch: Scholarships and assistantships may be subject to income tax.

In general, scholarships that cover tuition and fees are tax-free, while money that pays for room and board is not.

Telling the difference between the two is harder than it seems.

“The problem you run into is when the school says, ‘We’re giving you $10,000 and calling it a scholarship,’” said Tim Steffen, CPA and director of advanced planning at Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee. “Just because the school says it’s tax-free, doesn’t mean it is.”

Tax-free conditions
GP: Going away to college, college savings, higher education
Blend Images – Terry Vine | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images

Two conditions must apply in order for a scholarship or fellowship to be tax-free, according to the IRS.

1. You’re a degree-candidate at an educational institution that maintains a regular faculty and curriculum. The school must have a regularly enrolled body of students in attendance.

2. The money you receive is used to pay for tuition and fees necessary for enrollment or for books, fees, supplies and equipment needed for courses.

Scholarships that cover incidental expenses, including room, board and travel are taxable.

You are also on the hook for taxes on any money you get as payment for teaching, research and other services as a condition of receiving the cash.

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You might also owe taxes on the portion of a scholarship that exceeds the total tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment — even if the funds are earmarked for those costs, said Mark Kantrowitz, student loan expert and VP of research at Savingforcollege.com.

Students who get money for services required by the National Health Services Corps Scholarship Program or the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program don’t need to pay taxes on the amounts received.

Tuition waivers and stipends

Fellowships and research assistantships are a little more complicated. These programs may combine a tax-free tuition waiver and a taxable living stipend.

The stated purpose of the funds and how you use the money will matter.

“Let’s say that you get a partial tuition waiver and a living stipend, and you use the stipend to pay the tuition,” said Kantrowitz.

“It will still be treated as taxable because it was designated for living expenses, as opposed to tuition,” he said.

Reporting to the IRS
GP: Tax form and a calculator
Nora Carol Photography | Getty Images

If a school offers a student money that’s considered taxable income — perhaps as part of a teaching assistantship or fellowship — then it must provide the student with a Form W-2, reporting taxes withheld.

Prior to tax time, your school will also report qualified tuition expenses on Form 1098-T, along with the details on the amount of scholarships, fellowships and grants received.

Hold onto your receipts for textbooks, supplies and equipment, Kantrowitz said. Form 1098-T won’t have that information.

Who’s ultimately responsible for reporting the tax load? For dependent students, Mom and Dad would report the scholarships on their return.

In this case, a taxable scholarship is considered “unearned income,” subjecting it to the kiddie tax if the child is under 19 or is a full-time student under age 24, Steffen said.

Under the old tax code, this would’ve meant that unearned income exceeding $2,100 is subject to the parents’ rates, and families would use Form 8615 to calculate the liability.

Under the new tax law, however, the “unearned income” will instead be subject to trust income tax rates — meaning that taxable income exceeding $12,500 will be taxed at the top rate of 37 percent.

[“source=cnbc”]

Ban cars from idling near schools, says UK public health agency

Cars queue to collect children outside a primary school in Aberystwyth, Wales

Cars queue to collect children outside a primary school in Aberystwyth, Wales. Photograph: Alamy

Cars should be banned from idling near schools and congestionchargesimposed across the UK as part of measures recommended by the government public health agency.

In a report on Monday, Public Health England (PHE) said up to 36,000 people were dying each year from human-made air pollution.

It also pointed to emerging evidence of air pollution causing dementia, low birth weight and diabetes.

In a 263-page review of the options for improving air quality [pdf] the report calls for on councils to introduce no-idling zones outside schools and hospitals; the imposition of more congestion charges and low emission zones; and the development of a vehicle-charging infrastructure to promote a “step-change” in the uptake of electric cars.

The review favours measures that improve the air quality for as many people as possible, such as the wide implementation of low emission zones, rather than a focus on local pollution hotspots.

It also called for action against the sources of air pollution such as highly polluting vehicles and wood-burning stoves.

Prof Paul Cosford, the director for health protection and medical director of PHE, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m a doctor, I see a figure of 35,000 to 40,000 people each year dying as a result of the harm that is caused by air pollution.”

Calling for more urgency, he said: “If we were having a conversation about 30,000 people dying each year because of a polluted water supply, I think we would have a very different conversation. It would be about: ‘what do we need to do now and how quickly can we do it?’”

Cosford added: “Technologies are available, the things that we need to do we know about, so this is a matter of how we take this issue as seriously as we need to, and how we move the technologies and the planning and all of that into reality so we actually deal with this problem for us and for future generations.”

The review stops short of suggesting banning cars from the school run. Asked about the idea, Cosford said: “I do think that if we consider this to be an issue of future generations, for our children, let’s have a generation of children brought up free from the scourge and the harms of air pollution. And that does then take you to ‘what can we do about making sure schools are at least as clean as possible?’

“We should stop idling outside schools, we should make sure children can walk or cycle to school, and we should make sure that schools work with their parents about how they can do their best for this.”

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[“source=theguardian”]

Scholarships This Week

Kashmir Observer in association with Buddy4Study presents scholarships available for the meritorious students of Jammu & Kashmir.

Ist Scholarship

Category: National Level
Scholarship: 11th National Biennial Competition for Green Grassroots 2018
Description: National Innovation Foundation and DST, Govt. of India invite young innovators and inventors to submit

their technical projects which can contribute to energyconservation, productivity and other social fields.

Selected projects will be awarded with prize money and they will be featured in national/international media.

Eligibility: Individuals or groups of innovators up to class 12, artisans, slum dwellers, students, mechanics, etc. with

innovative ideas for sustainable environment development may apply with their projects for this scholarship.

Prizes & Rewards: Monetary awards from ₹100000 to ₹750000 will be provided to National ranking entries and consolation prizes

of ₹10000 will be distributed to noteworthy contributions.

Last Date to Apply: March 31, 2019
Application: Submit offline entries for application
Short Source URL: http://www.b4s.in/observer/NBC4

2nd Scholarship

Category: International Level
Scholarship: Taiwan ICDF International Higher Education Scholarship Program 2019
Description: International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), Taiwan is providing study abroad aspirants from India

with a chance to undertake Undergraduate, Masters and PhD courses at renowned partner universities in Taiwan with

scholarships, monthly allowances and other benefits.

Eligibility: Students applying for Undergraduate, Masters and PhD courses at partner institutions of ICDF, Taiwan; who satisfy the VISA

and emigration requirements of ROC (Taiwan) National Immigration Agency may apply for these scholarships.

Prizes & Rewards: Selected students will be provided with full tuition fee waiver for their studies along with monthly stipend of up to TWD 17000.

They will also get other benefits of  one time airfare, accommodation facilities and insurance benefits.

Last Date to Apply: March 15, 2019
Application: Apply online
Short Source URL: http://www.b4s.in/observer/TII5

3rd Scholarship

Category: Merit-cum-Means based
Scholarship: Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship 2019-20
Description: The Aga Khan Foundation provides graduates and post-graduates students with an opportunity to secure

financial aids for their higher education with this scholarship program. Selected scholars will be provided

with maximum appropriate tuition fees and living expenses aid.

Eligibility: Graduates willing to apply for Master’s courses with genuine financial need and consistent academic records

may apply for this scholarship. Post-graduates may also apply if they have requisite recommendations for

doctoral studies.

Prizes & Rewards: Selected fellows will be provided maximum appropriate tuition fees and living expenses aid based on their financial

need and academic qualifications

Last Date to Apply: March 20, 2019
Application:

Offline applications only

 

[“source=kashmirobserver”]

Maharashtra MAH MCA CET admit card 2019 released at cetcell.mahacet.org, here’s how to download

Maharashtra MAH MCA CET admit card 2019,MAH MCA CET,Maharashtra MSETC 

MSETC MAH MCA CET 2019 Admit card released(PTI)
[“source=hindustantimes”]

RBSE 10th and 12th Admit Card 2019 released, Get complete details here

RBSE 10th and 12th Admit Card 2019: Rajasthan Board Admit Card 2019 for the upcoming board exam for Class 10 and Class 12 students has been released by the Rajasthan board. The Board of Secondary Education Rajasthan, Ajmer released the RBSE Board Exam 2019 admit cards for the Secondary i.e. Class 10 and Senior Secondary i.e. Class 12 on 5th March 2019.  RBSE Admit Card 2019 has been released online. However, the admit cards can be accessed only by the affiliated schools from the official website i.e. rajeduboard.rajasthan.gov.in. Students who have registered for the upcoming board exams can consult their respective school administrators to get their RBSE 10th and 12th Admit Card 2019. According to tentative estimate, nearly 20 lakh students will appear for the Rajasthan Board Exam 2019. There are around 11 lakh class 10th students and 9 lakh class 12th students.

It is mandatory for the candidates to carry their admit cards to the examination centre. Any class 12th student who is not carrying his/her admit card on the exam day will not be allowed to appear for the exam. The Rajasthan Board Admit Card 2019 constitutes information such as candidates name, roll number, enrolment number, father’s name, mother’s name, date of birth, date of exam, exam days, exam timings, examination centre, centre’s code, reporting time, subject name etc.

The Rajasthan Board Examination for the Class 12th will commence from March 7, 2019. The first exam is of the English Language. The last date of the Class 12th Examination is April 2, 2019, and the last exam is of Philosophy. Whereas the class 10th Examinations will commence from March 14, 2019, and the exams will end on March 27, 2019. The first and last exam for class 10th students is English and Social Science. The exam for both class 10th and class 12th will be held from 8:30AM to 11:45AM.

[“source=jagranjosh”]

Schools launch helpline numbers for students

Representative imageRepresentative image
JAIPUR: “I am not able to focus on studies since morning. Please help!” A frantic call close to midnight two days ago was received by a private school counsellor by a panic stricken student of class XII-Commerce seeking help in understanding as to why he is struggling to focus on studies. It took the counsellor 20 minutes over the phone to identify the reason and provide remedial steps to the student.

“He was victim of a peer pressure. During investigation, I learned that on a classroom WhatsApp group they made a rule to report on what all they have studied during the day. In the last two days, he realized that he had not studied enough to match his peers. He created pressure on himself for not catching up to his friends. Thoughts of failing the exam and losing respect filled his mind and thus, he had lost focus on studies,” said a counsellor, who didn’t want the student to be identified. The solution, the counsellor proposed, is to stay away from the WhatsApp group and start re-revising chapters which he had prepared properly to instill confidence in himself.

As the board exams have started, school counsellors’ phones have started ringing incessantly with queries from the jittery students. The stressed-out students are seeking assistance on academics, diet and health issues while in many cases parents are also involved.

Lata Rawat, principal of Cambridge Court High School said, “The call flow is at an all-time high which indicates that students and parents are aware of the importance of this service started by the schools.” She further added that every such call is being recorded and being handled as per the standard operating procedure. The procedures they follow are to inquire and investigate the problem by giving a patient hearing. If the problem is severe, we escalate the matter to the parents. In some cases, parents were called to the office to make a joint effort for solving the problem,” said Rawat.

Every school has launched helpline numbers for students to ensure that they get timely support. In most cases, the class teacher is given the charge of handling his/her class. The aim is to build a quick rapport with the student in need. Underlining the importance of helpline numbers, vice principal of St. Xavier’s School, Nevta, C K Punnose said this mechanism helps in identifying the problem. “The first and foremost thing which we try to read is the level of stress and what kind of thoughts running in the mind of a student. Accordingly, we decide the line of action,” said Punnose. Some common questions like, “I don’t feel like appearing for the exam or I don’t think I will able to clear the exam” raises red flags and the counsellors then forward the matter to the principal or the parents.

[“source=timesofindia.indiatimes.”]

New York City and Boston close schools as snowstorm slams Northeast

A storm dumped several inches of snow across the Northeast overnight Sunday into Monday, closing schools in New York City and Boston and leaving a slushy mess for the morning commute.

Manhattan’s Central Park was hit with five inches of snow, its largest snowfall total of the winter so far. Boston’s Logan Airport received nearly 10 inches of snow, while some areas around Boston were hit with more than a foot, the National Weather Service said.
By midday Monday, snow had stopped falling as the storm moved off shore, clearing up visibility in the affected areas.
A boy sleds in Manhattan's Central Park on Monday after a late-season snowstorm.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced he’ll be deploying state resources, including thousands of plow trucks, specialized law enforcement vehicles and utility workers, to areas expected to be hit with snow.
“We have learned from experience that it is better to be over-prepared in these situations — if you’re not prepared before the storm, it is too late,” he said in a statement.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is expecting the “biggest snow accumulation we’ve had all year.”
“This is going to be a serious storm,” he said Sunday. “People should be ready for really tough conditions in the morning.”
A woman plays with her dog in Central Park on Monday after 5 inches of snow fell.

He said all New York City public schools will be closed Monday and urged drivers to stay off the roads and take mass transit if they must go out.
Across the river, New Jersey also is expecting several inches of snow by Monday morning. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency, asking drivers to “stay off the roads so that we are able to deploy available resources to clean the snow.”
Public schools in Jersey City and Boston will also be closed on Monday, the schools districts said.
Boston’s City Hall is closed Monday “due to more than anticipated snow that came overnight, which has brought up to 14 (inches) of wet, heavy snow in parts of the city,” a press release from the Office of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said.

The weather system that will blanket cities across the East Coast began developing Saturday, bringing snow to the Central Plains and putting millions of people under winter weather alerts from Colorado to Maine.
As the storm leaves the northern East Coast behind early Monday morning, the National Weather Service said it will be dropping snow at a rate of one inch per hour. Nearly 43 million people are under a winter weather warning, CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.

Warnings in Colorado

The storm may well have departed from the Midwest but some severe weather conditions still linger. The main issue for most of the Midwest this week will be the cold, Shackelford said.
“There are up to 50 potential record cold highs for Monday,” he said.
In Colorado — parts of which saw nearly 4 inches of snow — a warning has been extended to multiple mountain ranges as the snowfall created multiple dangerous avalanche conditions.

Late Sunday, an avalanche closed I-70 eastbound between Copper Mountain and Frisco, Colorado, according to Amy Ford, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Ford said it was the second avalanche on Sunday in the same general area.One driver captured this photo of an avalanche on Colorado's I-70.

She said the interstate was shut down while crews cleaned up. While there were cars in and around the avalanche, Ford said she didn’t think anyone was injured. The highway has since reopened.
[“source=cnn”]

Ban on Jamaat-e-Islami won’t affect affiliated schools, mosques, says govt

The Jammu and Kashmir government late on Sunday clarified that Jamaat-e-Islami’ affiliated schools, mosques and orphanages have been kept outside the purview of the ban on the organisation.

“#JeI Ban# J&K Government Spokesman, Rohit Kansal @kansalrohit69 clarifies: Schools, mosques & orphanages so far kept outside the scope of seizure,” said a tweet by department of information and public relations, Govt of Jammu & Kashmir.

Almost all regional mainstream parties had expressed outrage after Centre on Thursday banned the Jamaat-e-Islami in Jammu and Kashmir for five years on grounds that it was “in close touch” with militant outfits and was expected to “escalate secessionist movement” in the state.

National Conference (NC), Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Conference (PC) have demanded revocation of the ban and also expressed concern over the fate of schools run by the JeI.

“While the government may take some time to review the need to ban JeI, there is a need to urgently review the ban on schools and the sealing of mosques,” tweeted former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday.

“There is nothing to suggest sealing mosques will improve the security environment. Sealing schools risks forcing so many young kids out on the streets rather than studying to make a future for themselves,” he said.

“People are being turned away from mosques where they usually congregate for prayers. Schools with 10’s of 1000’s of students, employing 1000s of teachers are being sealed,” he said.

There is anxiety among thousands of parents and students of hundreds of JeI-run schools as they fear the administration may seal educational institutes as well. According to an unofficial estimate, around 100,000 students are studying in 300 schools run by the JeI.

On Saturday, PDP leaders and activists took out a protest march against the ban in Srinagar. The protest came as authorities in Kashmir started sealing properties of JeI and residences of some of its activists. Bank accounts of JeI leaders have also been frozen.

“These schools have been providing education to the poorest of the poor and they have been getting positions. They are meritorious students. Where will these kids go? The government is playing with their future. This is very bad,” said PDP leader and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

[“source=hindustantimes”]