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  • Teaching being one of the noble professions has just become the job option for an easy going life

  • Teachers in J&K have an additional responsibility of bringing 
    the state out of crunches in order to build human resources to make it a prosperous state.
  • I have seen a general trend of people not calling others with appropriate names rather calling them Pahadi, Ajaska, Kaji, Haji, Nicka, Thaida, Mudd, etc. which a teacher should be 
    sensitive and conscious about.
  • Being respectful is the most important thing a student needs to learn during schooling.
  • Bringing politics into the classroom should be the most 
    dangerous thing to do it will lead to nothing but shear waste of child’s precious learning time.
  • Due to lesser student participation during the lessons they have stopped using their brains and have become less expressive
  • When I came to Kashmir for this project I could see a stark difference between the knowledge that I had and the reality here. The way certain teachers behaved, totally theoretical no trace of practicality, no accountability, zero responsibility, less sensitized regarding choice of words and lack of willingness to work.
JAMMU:   She was just 21 years old when for the first time visited Kashmir in 2009 as a tourist but eventually fell in love with the place and certainly felt like home. It was then that she could see the difference between the three provinces of Jammu and Kashmir state, and have a first-hand experience of the diversity.

During her visit, she just kept observing the places as these were the ones she had been hearing the stories about. Also, she could for the first time compare her life with that of her parents. Comparing the childhood setting was another incredible experience which she would have never thought of had she not visited Kashmir.

For her Kashmir was just incredibly beautiful place that she used to think about, mostly the Lidder Valley. The flowing water of Lidder still makes her feel refreshed.

Jeewika Bhat, who has recently joined Teach For India, Delhi chapter as a fellow, had decided to go for a project in rural area, though she had finalized Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir but when she came across the New Leaf Initiative (NLI) by the PMRDFs in Bandipore she saw it as an opportunity to serve her homeland and have a first-hand experience of how the things work.  Since, it was just a month long project; she was of the opinion that knowing the language would be helpful. 

Presently in Kashmir, Jeewika Bhat told Ajmer Alam Wani, Editor-in-Chief of JK MONITOR,  (www.jkmonitor.org) that she used to hear a lot of stories about how her mother, father and their siblings grew up in their respective villages and the way they used to go to school and how they used to climb on the trees for apples, their routines and how it was to have celebrate festivals and ceremonies, etc. Kashmir for sure was the land of her childhood stories and tales.

Open sky, vast fields of rice, magnanimous mountains, Pheran, Kangri, Dariya, Sheen, etc. were the elements she used to think of all the time when she used to listen to these stories. But it was only after she visited Kashmir she realized that how beautiful this place was!

Before her visit to Kashmir she had never seen someone who was a Kashmiri and not her relative. But when she went to her maternal grandfather’s place in Anantnag district, she could see the joyful and curious faces of the villagers who were part of her mother’s lifetill her marriage and they were overwhelmed with joy to see her and were awestruck at the fact that she knew the language so well.

She had a little idea of the issues that the Jammu and Kashmir state was suffering from but couldn’t understand and feel much of it. The words that she constantly heard and were associated with Jammu and Kashmir were militants, Indian Army, migration, Muslim, Pandit, etc. but being a constant visitor to Jammu she could not make connections. Also, she felt bad for the Dogras and other communities as they were equally from the state and were never talked of.

She spent her entire life so far in Delhi. Did her schooling from Sachdeva Public School, Rohini went to Ramjas College, DU for my Bachelors and GGSIPU, Dwarka for M.Sc. Environment Management. She stays with her parents and grandmother in Rohini, New Delhi. However, was working in Pune after her Masters in a start-up consultancy. Then she moved back to Delhi and joined Teach For India, Delhi Chapter as a fellow last year.

As a professional, Jeewika Bhat has worked as a Project Analyst with a Pune based start-up consultancy on several projects dealing on Sustainability Reporting, Carbon Accounting Management Systems and Off-Grid Solar. Thereafter, in 2014, she moved back to Delhi and joined Teach For India, Delhi chapter as a fellow. Currently she teach 40, 5th graders in Walia Public School, Kashmiri Gate.

As in Delhi they have a summer break in schools for the month of May and June, so the fellows go for various projects or internships.Jeewika Bhat too decided to go for a project in rural area. She had finalized Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir. Then she came across the New Leaf Initiative (NLI) by the PMRDFs in Bandipore and she could see it as an opportunity to serve my homeland and have a first-hand experience of how the things work. Since, it was just a month long project; her opinion was, for her knowing the language would be helpful. 

Analyses and experience about education in Kashmir: Jeewika said, the education scenario of the entire country is the same except a 1-2 states. The whole focus of this system should be on child’s learning and development while everything else being just a background picture. But sadly we do not a Child-Centric System. There is no incentive, consequence or accountability for learning. Teaching being one of the noble professions has just become the job option for an easy going life. As rightly said “Kunilagiy n Tebaniymashter”, in case of Kashmir it is the only profession the qualified ones could have.

The importance of being a teacher and feeling good about it is missing in general at all places however at administrations part there are a few changes that can be made so as to ensure accountability and focussed learning. In most of the Northern states there is a class teacher system till primary level (1-5) wherein one teacher is given the responsibility of one class and is responsible for all the admin and other requirements of that class for one academic year. In fact, we at Teach for India also follow more or less the same model, but for two years.

I think, this is one thing that can bring accountability for child’s learning. But above all being respectful and motivated is something teachers need to have within to bring that change. Though, the scenario everywhere is the same, however, the teachers in Jammu and Kashmir have an additional responsibility of bringingthe state out of crunches in order to build human resources to make it a prosperous state. As a matter of fact only ‘a teacher can make a difference’.

Basic things lacking: “I think the exposure to latest teaching practices is lacking along with the soft skills. I have seen a general trend of people not calling others with appropriate names rather calling them Pahadi, Ajaska, Kaji, Haji, Nicka, Thaida, Mudd, etc. which a teacher should be sensitive and conscious about. Being respectful is the most important thing a student needs to learn during schooling. But the brighter side is that I have come across some really dedicated and motivated teachers who are already using their B.Ed. practices in the classroom and a difference in the standard is visible. Also, putting efforts in right direction is really important i.e. towards all children getting excellent education. By saying excellent education I mean a holistic growth which enables a child to make informed decisions throughout his/her life.

The policies need to be child centric and revolve around how best a child can learn, but also keeping in mind the concerns of teachers as well. In context of teacher training and exposing them to different methods of teaching the District Administration of Bandipore along with PMRDFs started off with New Leaf Initiative (NLI) wherein people from different organizations like Teach for India, GyanSetu, Pratham, etc. have been visiting the various schools across the district and interacting with both students and teachers, doing science experiments, star gazing, teacher training, helping teacher to have differentiated learning in the classrooms and schools, introducing art and activity period in the time-table, etc.

This I feel is a great opportunity for both the teachers and students to get exposed to immense possibilities outside the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the opportunity to create off beat professions inside the state.

Areas that need focus: Jeewika stressed on soft skills and respectful learning, ensuring accountability, technical assistance so as to stop rote learning student participation and lesser teacher talking activity based approach. “A teacher can be a strong barrier between the turbulent and uncertain political situations prevailing in the state and the classroom full of innocent bright future. Bringing politics into the classroom should be the most dangerous thing to do it will lead to nothing but shear waste of child’s precious learning time.

The positive things in J&K Govt schools:  The students are very disciplined and loving. Though due to lesser student participation during the lessons they have stopped using their brains and have become less expressive but there is a huge potential lying out there and the teachers just need to tap it. Also, I have seen some teachers working really hard to make the kids understand the concepts in such cases they just need to know the smart way of doing it by addressing to the different learning styles of children like visual, kinaesthetic, auditory and read-write.

Difference between heard about and found: Well growing up as a Kashmiri was difficult as everyone around used to say Kashmiris are intelligent and highly qualified. Their regard in terms of education was too much to handle. I was told about various dedicated teachers and how people used to consider it a matter of pride to be able to teach. But when I came to Kashmir for this project I could see a stark difference between the knowledge that I had and the reality here. I could see a lot of things that I had never imagined to be true. The way certain teachers behaved, totally theoretical no trace of practicality, no accountability, zero responsibility, less sensitized regarding choice of words and lack of willingness to work.

VISION:  “I feel the quality of education has been suffering throughout the country. It is more saddening for Jammu and Kashmir in particular because this place has a history of having highly qualified men and women. But being one of the turbulent states excellent education is the only way out to uplift the society. Apart from having various teacher friendly but children centric policies sense of responsibility needs to be imparted in teachers and they should be aware of their superpower of getting this state out of a deep mess that it is into.

As per my observations there is a lot that is happening in terms of teacher training, visits by education observers, making learning fun, etc. but somewhere still we forget that children should be the centre of education system. Also, one of the major setback was that teachers need to be trained on soft skills and they need to be a little respectful to students.

There is a lot that government needs to do in terms of making the system more child centric and not just get politics into the classroom, but still there is a lot that a teacher can do in the class to make a difference as their superpower lies within.