THE JAMMU and Kashmir government has ordered shutting down of coaching and tuition centres in the Valley for three months. The decision was taken in an attempt to thwart student protests that have marred the academic session for more than a fortnight now, sources said.
The decision to close down the private coaching institutes teaching students up to class XII was taken by state Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari after a meeting with the heads of government educational institutes. The coaching centres preparing students for professional exams, however, have been exempted.
“We had a discussion with our principals today on how to make the education system better. We have come to conclusion that the distractions which affect our educational system… one of those distractions are the coaching centres,” Bukhari said. “We have decided that these centres would remain closed for next 90 days.”
While Bukhari termed the tuition centres as distraction, sources in the education department said the decision was taken to thwart the student protests and to bring back the children to schools. Classes have been suspended in most of the colleges and higher secondary schools of the Valley since April 2. The student protests erupted first against the killing of 12 militants and four civilians in the twin encounters in Shopian on April 1 and then against Kathua rape and murder.
Sources said the government feels that the students are not inclined to attend classes as they take regular classes from the private tuition centres. “The thinking is that when the coaching centres are closed, students would have no option but to attend schools,” said an officer of the education department.
While Kashmir’s Directior Education G N Itoo termed the decision as “purely academic”, he too hinted that the decision has been taken to prevent protests. “There are several instances in our notice where students took to protests when they weren’t allowed inside school for being late,” he said.
Education Minister Bukhari said that the government would review its decision of closing down the private tuition centres after every fortnight.