Indian Army is conducting ‘School Chalo’ operation, under which it identifies areas and provides students with free coaching and make them participate in extra-curricular activities.
For over four months now, there has been no class work in any school in the valley due to unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
During the ongoing unrest, as many as 31 schools and 110 government buildings have been damaged in Kashmir. Among the schools, which were set ablaze by unknown persons, 25 were government-run, two private and four were run by trusts or other social organisations.
“We know we have to deal situation on the internal front and we are doing that with desired results. But simultaneously during my interaction with locals, I felt they were worried about the studies of their children, but at the same time anxious about their security. That is where I asked my boys to work out a plan for providing education to students,” says Major General Ashok Narula, General-Officer-in-Command of ‘Victor Force’.
Following the long shutdown of the schools, the ‘School Chalo’ programme is increasingly becoming popular in the Valley. Using a local slogan ‘Chyem ne zaroorat Daulat-o-Rubab, Faqat Gochum School te Kitab (I don’t need money and fame, I need books and school)’, the army officers are trying convince the parents to send their wards to make-shift dwellings to study.
The program has started identifying teachers in localities and requested them to hold classes in schools or community houses to impart education to children.
“These children should hold books in their hands, rather than a stone,” Narula said.
The success of the program is evident from the performance of 292 students who were studying in the Army Goodwill School at Pahalgam who were being taught by well qualified teachers, Army officers said.
“Unhindered by the turmoil which had engulfed the state, these students have not only finished and revised their syllabus but have also participated whole-heartedly in various functions like Eid, Independence Day etc. These (activities) were also the reasons given to parents in other localities to convince them to send in their children,” said Narula.
Earlier the army conducted Operation ‘Calm Down’ in August- September to clear different parts of the Valley of militants and protesters using minimum force.