Srinagar: The famous Jhelum View Park along the Bund and other resting spots around the polo view in Srinagar city have become favorite spots for school-going students who bunk their classes. Every day scores of students in their uniform are seen roaming idle or sitting in groups inside the Park, and playgrounds near polo view during school hours.
Students have become habitual of spending their entire day in these parks. It seems the school authorities do not pay any heed to their absence from classes,” said a passerby.
Donning school uniforms, the students from different nearby schools reach Jhelum View Park and other nearby spots to spend their day and bunk their classes.
“I see many of these students every day here. They reach this park at 11 am and leave after 2 pm or 3 pm,” a shopkeeper at Bund said.
Also, the students are seen roaming in Pratap Park during school hours raising questions about the administration of the schools.
“The concerned schools should act strictly against these students for remaining absent from schools unauthorisedly,” said Muhammad Ismael, a passerby at Lal Chowk.
In the past, the schools would rusticate the students who would not attend their classes for seven consecutive days. But the practice was later done away with because the move would result in a decrease in enrollment.
“If the students are rusticated from schools the authorities in the School Education Department raise questions over decreasing enrollment in schools,” said a school head wishing not to be named. Not only in Srinagar but the complaints about students bunking their classes are reported from other districts as well.
A senior lecturer of a government higher secondary school in one of the south Kashmir districts said the students do not attend their classes but are regular at private coaching centers.
The lecturer said in some cases the students manage their “dummy admissions” in government higher secondary schools but never attend classes.
“They either spend their day in parks or sit at him but they are marked present in classes as they go to private coaching centers for their studies,” the lecturer said.
Pleading helplessness, the lecturer said the respective school managements are not able to act against these students because it will force them to switch to private schools.
“Reportedly, some private schools have an understanding with parents and students wherein they pay the school fee without attending classes but prefer to go private coaching classes in morning or evening and spend the whole day in parks and malls,” the lecturer said.
He said tightening the noose around the students will force the students to opt for other schools resulting in a decrease in the school enrollment. “And if the enrollment decreases, the school head and teachers will be made answerable by the department. Nobody among higher-ups will understand the real cause of the dip in enrolment,” he said.
Students including girls roaming in parks and other resting spots during school hours have raised concern among stakeholders who demand that school authorities, Civil and district administration besides the parents should collectively play a role to stop the nuisance.
“A proper attendance monitoring system should be introduced in schools wherein parents should be informed about the absence of their kids in schools. Parents should be intimated about this on a daily basis,” said Abdul Majeed, a parent from Srinagar.
The stakeholders also demanded that the concerned district administration should set up a special task force and deploy them around these parks during school hours. “The move will discourage students from bunking their classes,” he said.
Over the years, J&K police would deploy Flying Squads and deploy police personnel at various spots. The squad would not allow students to roam in parks and other spots during school hours.
“But there is no check on it these days. Hope government will look into it as students bunking their classes are destroying their future,” another parent said.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar Rakesh Balwal when contacted said they have taken cognizance of the issue and they have decided to deploy their personnel in civvies in many areas to stop the nuisance.
“The issue is not directly related to us but considering the societal concern, The students will be either sent to home or school but will not be allowed to roam in parks,” he told Greater Kashmir.
Principal Secretary School Education Department (SED) Bishwajit Kumar Singh said the issue will be looked into.
“It is serious and the department will work on it and stop students from bunking their classes. We will come up with a solution at the department level,” he said.