During my school days, our teacher used to call all the students to his village for rice cultivation
Located in north Kashmir, Kalipora is a backward village under socially and educationally backward areas of Jammu and Kashmir. The small village with around 500 people is situated at the crossroads of Tehsil (sub-district) Beerwah and Tehsil Khag at a distance of about only fifteen kilometers from district Budgam and only a few kilometers distant from the beautiful Doodhpathri and lovely scenic meadows of Tosamaidan.
The Kaliporavillage has well but pathetic road connectivity from all four sides. The pleasantly beautiful village of Kalipora has large landmass of apple orchards, walnuts and green pastoral lands.
The peculiar feature of Kalipora is that almost all its residents are self-sufficient as every inhabitant of the village has an adequate amount of agricultural land to support their families and the education of their children.
Every resident is economically sound enough to provide their children with a good education but they lack in inspiration and motivation, they prefer to send their children to agricultural fields rather than schools.
A decade earlier, we had only primary school up to 5th standard with only one teacher for five classes. I still remember when I was a student there, we had only one teacher who come and leavethe school at his discretion.
Not even one student in the history of that school cleared secondary school examinations, all my classmates and before me and even after me are doing odd and unskilled jobs.
During my days in school, our teacher called all the students of class 5th to his village for rice cultivation. This practice is quite normal where teachers take students to do personal jobs in villages.
Recently, the school was upgraded to the level of middle school and faculty was increased to four teachers, most of the teachers are senior secondary pass-out appointed under the scheme of Rehbar-e-Taleem.
I still remember the incident when we were having class 5th annual examination in another neighbouring village school. We had no idea of writing an exam and that was the first time I had seen the question paper.
I was confused, we all were. When our teacher noticed this attitude of ours he called me and asked me to write questions repeatedly in my answer sheet.
Rest is history. We all passed or were promoted to the next class.
This was the story of our school, ten years earlier. Today nothing particular has changed. The school has the same infrastructure, same teaching staff both qualitative and quantitative. Such is pathetic of rural education system in Kashmir.
A medium-sized village of Kalipora with a total of 75 families and a population of 428, of which 229 are males while 199 are females (census 2011) and around 20 percent of the population is children with the age group 0-6.
The literacy rate is only at 44.80 percent. Male literacy stands at 58.51percentwhile female literacy rate stands at 28.48 percent.
Government schools in our area particularly Kalipora due to its small size backwardness are rarely being monitored by the higher authorities because of their unwillingness to go to backward areas of the valley.
Only a few people in our village are postgraduates and few graduates. The students of Kalipora government middle school very rarely clear their secondary school examinations. Only one or two people have reasonably respectable government jobs in Kalipora village.
Infrastructure is a big issue in rural schools of Kashmir valley. While urban schools are well structured some government schools in urban areas are far better than private schools.
Schools in rural areas of Kashmir valley lack basic infrastructure like toilets, playground, library, computer lab, and so on. Lack of knowledge of teachers, low ratio and absence of teachers and lack of infrastructure discourage both parents and the students. Thus young talented kids end up working as labours in agricultural fields.
The government middle school of Kalipora village has no electricity, in fact, Kalipora village face months of blackouts particularly during harsh winter days.
Most funds on urban development, rural areas continue to remain economically, socially and educationally deprived and marginalised. Infrastructure in rural schools need urgent and uninterrupted development as the rural population greatly depends on government schools.
When we talk of education, we just can't talk about education in urban areas of the state, rural areas constitute the major chunk of valleys population.
Villages like Kalipora fail to receive a quality education. Poor infrastructure in schools is one major reason discouraging children, lack of accountability of teachers has also raised the rate of absenteeism.
For the enhancement of rural education local committees comprising the local population of parents must be set-up and entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing teaching staff and their responsibilities, higher government authorities responsible for overseeing education department should pay surprise visits, and regularly review students' progress.
There is an acute shortage of teachers in government middle school Kalipora, half of the classes at all times remain teacher-less. There is also a need to increase the number of teachers, bring multifaceted development of Kalipora government school including construction and expansion of the existing building, proper teaching aids including computer lab, facilities for sports activities, sanitary facilities, fortification of the school, and most importantly well qualified and well-trained and satisfactory teaching staff.
I following quote stands true as far as the education system of Kaliporais concerned: “Education is very necessary for each and everyone in order to improve knowledge, way of living as well as social and economic status throughout the life.”