Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday asked a group of J&K school students visiting New Delhi to return to heir homes to share the message of “trust, love and freedom,” with their friends and family members.
“I believe that one day lakhs of people from different parts of India would visit Kashmir to celebrate Republic Day. I am sure these youngsters will show us the way. They will do what our police and military could not do in last 70 years,” he said addressing a group of 500 J&K school students at Bal Bhavan in New Delhi.
The students are in New Delhi since January 18 under a student exchange programme rolled out by the HRD Ministry from this year.
The minister said Kashmir was an “integral part of India and the students must take pride in India’s independence from the colonial rule,” according to The Deccan Herald.
“Freedom is the biggest wealth. This day (Republic day) reminds us of the sacrifices that our forefathers made for our freedom,” he said.
He said the Central government has put special focus on providing quality education to the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) students for their “bright future.”
He said his Ministry has been “monitoring” the progress made in the implementation of various students welfare programmes in the state “on a monthly basis.”
He also assured the J&K students of providing them with “all possible support” to enable them pursue higher education.
“I will soon visit the state to conduct a review (of the progress made so far in education sector in J&K),” the minister added.
“I will also come to J&K with 500 students from other parts of the country under the exchange programme,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, J&K Education Minister Altaf Bukhari appreciated the government for organising students exchange programme, saying it will help “remove misgivings” that the people in the Valley and rest of the part of the country have been carrying with regard to J&K.
‘MAINSTREAMING SCHOOL CHILDREN’
The Centre recently said it planned to “mainstream” school children and use education “as a tool to bring normalcy” to Jammu and Kashmir.
Announcing a memorandum of understanding at Cabinet Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting in New Delhi earlier this month, the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) had said that the Centre and J&K governments have planned out a number of measures for engaging with students starting with exchange of 9000 to 10,000 students of J&K and setting up ICT and digital platforms in the schools of the state.
Anil Swarup, secretary, school education and literacy, MHRD had said that Centre is engaging with the state to “mainstream” children and use “education as a tool to bring normalcy.”
Swarup had also said that the J&K government has agreed to look at the NCERT curriculum for convergence and more number of schools from the state are seeking CBSE affiliation.
“This exercise is to expose students in J & K to content being taught in rest of the country. We will also hold massive student exchange programmes in which 9-10000 school students from J &k will be sent to other parts of the country on educational trips and school kids from other parts will be sent to the state,” Javadekar said.
‘Schools in Kashmir teach two maps’
Day before the meeting, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat had public berated government-run schools in Kashmir for imparting misinformation and “wrong education” to students. He had also called for exercising some control over mosques and madrassas in the region which he said were responsible for radicalization.
“You will be surprised that in the government schools in Kashmir, teachers are teaching something that should not be taught. You will find two maps, one is a map of India and the other of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. What is the need for that? What does this mean to a child’s mind?” he told media in New Delhi.
“(Among) those picking up guns, there will be one odd Ph.D. scholar. But you don’t see a terrorist coming out of Burn Hall (an elite missionary school in Srinagar). Most come from schools where there is a lot of disinformation and the education being given is wrong,” Rawat had said.
Interestingly, Bukhari had condemned Gen Rawat for “meddling in the state’s affairs” and said matters related to education should be left to the state government.
The PDP’s ally BJP, however, defended Gen Rawat, saying he had every right to express his views.