We are tired of non-academic activities; would you please let us study? – Kashmir Reader


An open letter to Education Department authorities on the constant and time-consuming preoccupation with this, that and the other campaign

I would like everyone to pay attention to the future of our students, a future already threatened partly because of the Covid-19 pandemic and partly because of Kashmir’s endless political problems. I would like to start with a brief history of my own academic journey over the past 5 years.
In 2019, I was in grade 12, full of hope and optimism, eagerly learning and taking classes. I loved political science and never missed a class. Everything was fine but following the repeal of section 370, everything changed and we had to stay at home. We couldn’t attend classes; we couldn’t use the internet for our studies because there was no internet. The future looked bleak. At the end of the year, I found myself in the exam hall, with a questionnaire in my hand that asked questions, many of which were unknown to me. Fortunately, I got my 12th grade and joined college with the hope that in college I would make up for the loss.
Coming to university was a new hope for me; I hope I can finally take regular classes. My first day at college went pretty well but the next day, well, there was no tomorrow. Due to Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown, the dream of studying at university remained just a dream. For the next two years, we took online courses. Although this was the only option available, it did not yield optimal results. Somehow I managed to qualify my first and second semesters without going to college. In the third semester, my hopes rose again and I at least thought now that I would attend real classes, but by then I had forgotten what my goal was. Still, I thought now Covid-19 was almost over and the situation in Kashmir was a bit calm, so I could try again to focus on my studies. You may be thinking what was the problem then?
Well, no doubt, we go to university everyday, we walk into classrooms everyday, and teachers prepare their lessons everyday, but unfortunately, we never attend lessons every day. . Every day our teachers inform us of some new activities that are due to take place in college today or tomorrow or next week or next month. Not a single day goes by that we don’t have to do something. One day there’s an addiction seminar, the next there’s an addiction essay contest, and then there’s an addiction slogan contest. Another day we are told to organize a rally and raise awareness about the negative effects of drug abuse (even if no one in the market is even looking at us) as if people don’t already know. For another week we are just told to watch documentaries about how drugs are destroying lives. When we ask our teachers why don’t they just take classes and let us focus on our academics, they say apologetically that it’s an order from the higher authorities.
So, I ask all the high authorities, what is going on? Why are we obligated to participate in non-academic activities? Why are we not allowed to attend regular classes? Does prioritizing extracurricular activities over academics really help students or does it just destroy their careers? We are students and we must probably focus on non-academic activities, but our main reason for going to university is something else; it is to study.
We love our nation and we admire all of our nation builders and freedom fighters who have sacrificed their lives for our better future. I have great respect for all our national heroes, but I don’t think it’s necessary to sacrifice a month of school to watch only documentaries on the struggle for freedom. Even freedom fighters wouldn’t have wanted that. Our nation is not yet fully developed; nation building still needs education.
I am a girl and I know the government cares about us. But I consider it completely redundant to waste my time on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan when it is even useless. I have lost count of how many activities we had to do regarding this Abhiyan. There is no doubt that this campaign has been for our good, but I must admit that instead of helping, it has only made our problems worse. I think to help girls get ahead in life, the government should let them focus on studies instead of forcing them to attend seminars and sessions about their importance and making them write essays about how to save himself.
To celebrate Cyber ​​Jagarata Diwas, we had to complete more than twelve activities, not to mention how much they affected our regular class work. These are all major activities; I do not even consider the small ones that we carry out daily. Every day, in addition to the main activities, there is a day to celebrate something, for example Youth Day, Yoga Day and many other days.
Recently, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, we had to carry out activities for a month and for weeks we were engaged in Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, so we were unable to attend correctly in one lesson. From next week, our exams start, and already we haven’t had a lot of classes. Now we are being asked to participate in the Nasha Mukht Bharat Abhiyan which will last for another month. I have this question regarding this Abhiyan, how would a simple slogan writing contest help to reduce drug addiction? Would drug addicts read them and stop taking drugs? The government must take serious action if it wants this problem to end completely. Having students, who probably aren’t even drug addicts, watch documentaries won’t help in the long run. All these activities were carried out under the banner of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, which has been going on for a year now.
During exams, we hardly have time to prepare because of these daily activities. Leave the exams, we don’t have time for our personal growth because we are busy pretending to be useful to the world. We don’t have time for ourselves.
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, on the anniversary of his birth, we received a list of activities for three weeks to carry out in our college, himself said: “If we want to achieve real peace in this world, we must begin the education of children. By education, I’m sure he didn’t mean depriving students of a basic academic education just for frivolous pursuits. He himself was a proponent of educating boys and girls and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have dreamed of this kind of education system, which is regressive in nature. He wanted teachers to teach and students to learn.
No one has ever progressed by living in the past. Ringing out the stories of past struggles will not help create a better future. We are the future, we have the responsibility to create a better future and therefore we want the freedom to learn how to build a bright future. Time is crucial for us, every second is precious, if we take care of too many extracurricular activities, I fear our future will be abysmally bleak.
I’m tired. We are all tired. We just want a little ease now. We cannot continue to do different activities throughout the week. I’m not saying we don’t want extracurricular activities at all, but too many of them have become an unnecessary burden on us. One activity per week was enough to get us involved. If we kept one day a week just for these extracurricular/extracurricular activities, I think it would work in favor of everyone. Our main motto for going to college and spending a considerable amount of money on fees/books etc. is because we want to learn something. We want to study.
Previously our classrooms were full of students and now we are just a few. The number of regular college students has decreased due to this new trend that the government has started. Students are so fed up with these activities that they prefer to stay at home rather than come to university. Nobody wants to sit in a room for 40 minutes just to watch how we achieved independence and how our Constitution was written. This is the modern era that we live in, we all have technology, we have smart phones, we have YouTube, and we can just watch these documentaries or movies at home in our spare time. In college, we have bigger things to worry about. I’d rather sit in the library and read books than go out for a rally just to be part of a simple pump show.
We were always told that when you have doubts you can ask your teachers and I’m sure my teachers would love to help me clear my doubts. But unfortunately they don’t have time to focus on us. Poor souls are always busy with non-academic pursuits when they would like to focus on our academics. And because of that, our studies suffer. Normal classroom work has become a rarity for us. A teacher’s first job is to teach, and if he has to sacrifice his lessons to do another job, what good is that job? I want to ask all concerned authorities why educational institutions are rendered superfluous and teachers useless by giving priority to non-academic activities over academic ones.
Since not all students can speak, I want to be a voice for all of them and hope that this voice will spread everywhere and that the authorities will take note of our problems. As an aggrieved student, I want my grievances addressed as quickly as possible. My request is not great; I don’t want permission to fly rockets over my yard. My small yet bigger request is just one: “Please let us learn, please let us study and focus on our academics, and please , make our education system a bit student-centric.” I have lost hope for my future, but this article is still a last hope that someone will take action and help hundreds of students like me. We’ve had enough of activities now. We cannot waste another precious year simply because our government refuses to address our priorities by focusing on what it thinks is best for us.

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