Safety: A Major Concern for Indian Schools

Safety: A Major Concern for Indian Schools

Indian schools are visibly low on safety and security, many schools across the country are yet to install safety and security arrangements. However, in recent times with terror attacks on schools all over the world Indian schools have realized the importance of having a proper security arrangement to meet any such eventualities. Schools are preparing themselves to take necessary precautions and keep strict security checks. All this is being put into place, albeit a little slowly. There are some pertinent aspects that schools must consider while creating safe environment like; creating a supportive environment free from danger and harm, preparing safety plans to escape from the school building in case of natural or manmade disasters and considering safety in student activities, whether it is learning hobbies, sports on the ground or conducting experiment in the laboratories. With the implementation of Right to Education Act (2009), there is an increase in school going population in India (especially in the government schools), But both the government and private schools have not taken any concrete steps to deal with safety issues. Government schools are barely able to provide basic infrastructure. They have poorly maintained school buildings, and hardly any ready plans for safety to deal with increased population. There is lack of safe drinking water, hygienic sanitation and clean toilets especially for girls in these schools. Private schools are no different than this, they also compromise gravely over the safety norms. This calls for schools to have necessary interventions to increase awareness and understanding of threat from different quarters. Safety Interventions at National and International Level Squelch (2001) defines a safe school as one that is free from danger and possible harm, where non-educators, educators and learners can work, teach and learn without fear or ridicule, intimidation, harassment, humiliation or violence. There are numerous school safety initiatives being carried out presently across the world to create safe schools. The 2011 Global Monitoring Report examined the devastating effects of armed conflict on education with 42% of out-of-school children living in conflict-affected countries. The GMR also explored the role of inappropriate education policies in creating conditions for violent conflict. In 2014, the UN Security Council adopted its Resolution guaranteeing the right to education...

Open letter: How can you justify killing humans in order to protect cows?

Open letter: How can you justify killing humans in order to protect cows?

(This is the full text of the Open Letter, an edited version of which was first published by Express Tribune) Dear Mrs. Vaidya, I saw your post on ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’, through a dear friend of mine who is an ardent advocate of Hindutva. I must confess, before I begin to put forward my points- cum- reply on your ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’ post, let me confess, I do agree with you partially considering the facts, but I do disagree with your intentions and also of those whom you support. And this disagreement in terms of intentions itself draws me to write this reply to your post. To being with you dedicate your post to ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’, and blatantly describe them to be “neither Indian, nor Liberal, nor Intellectual!” Well Mrs. Vaidya, can you please define “Indian”, “ Liberal” and “Intellectual” so that we get some clarity on the issue and can examine your allegation of somebody not being ‘Indian’ ‘Liberal’ and ‘Intellectual’ can be verified. Or is it the case, that you subscribe to our Governments attitude where everybody in dissent is advised to go to Pakistan, or is it the case that your post is a corollary to the theorem put forward by new Government, if people are not going to Pakistan, just call them ‘not Indians’ or ‘pseudo-Indians.’ Mrs. Vaidya probably you have devised a new law to decide about the citizenship of this country. What makes a man pseudo Liberal Mrs. Shefali, condemning Dadri Lynching, if that is what makes a man pseudo liberal, then perhaps Mr. Advani and now the Prime Minister Mr. Modi is also pseudo liberal, as atleast for the sake of Bihar elections he condemned the Dadri Lynching. Yes you are right, when you point out that the prize money too should be returned by those who returned their awards, and I in no way want to justify or take side as to why the said prize money was not returned but there could be more than one reason for not doing so, and the very idea of returning the awards is to register protest, the sanctity of award is in award itself and not in...

Waqf Sponsored and Goodwill Education in Kashmir

Waqf Sponsored and Goodwill Education in Kashmir

Apart from numerous religious educational institutes like Dar-ul-Ulooms, Darsgahs, Maktabs,etc, spread across the length and breadth of valley, there are certain unconventional sources of education in valley like Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Wakf Board run educational/professional institutions, orphanage schools and various other trust run educational institutions, Police public schools, Army’s goodwill education, Shia community run religious and other educational institutions, etc,. Army run or army administered education (schools) in the valley is commonly known as Goodwill education and these institutions are known as AGPS or army Goodwill public schools. These institutions are an alternative form/source of education besides the common modes of government run or private run education. Such alternatives like wakf education or Goodwill education have certainly been able to change the discourse by enabling access to the marginalized to a good education that too either free or at a minimal/affordable cost. Having studied ‘Muslim Endowments and Society in Kashmir’ thoroughly, I have surveyed Muslim auqaf and waqf sponsored educational institutions in the valley. As a researcher my observations in various religious or English medium educational institutions like darsgahs, darul-ul-Ulooms,waqf schools,Wakf Board aided Islamic university of science and technology, Bibi Halima college of Nursing, etc, I have had close interactions with the staff and students which unfolded interesting facts and stories. I learnt how such massive and potential institutions despite huge issues and challenges contribute a lot to the ailing society but continue to remain uncelebrated and invisible. The Student enrolment in Wakf run (13) chain of Schools in Kashmir is above three thousand (Boys 1627 & Girls 1605) and at the moment thousands of students from socio-economically backward sections of the society benefit from these institutions. Despite a good education, a nominal amount is charged from students as tuition fee and all the educational requirements are made available by the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Wakf Board (JKMWB) which certainly proves as an alternate source of education in its own limited capacity. It is my objective observation that, despite a variety of schools in Kashmir, the educational situation in the valley is grim in terms of quality, content and attendance. Some major reasons for poor standard of education in the state according to researchers...

Laws Swinging Cradle to Grave : Gallows to Pillows

Laws Swinging Cradle to Grave : Gallows to Pillows

The Year 2015 has been noted for an addition to its stereotype judgments; embarked and enshrined as ‘crude decision of the apex court’,for deciding the fate of a terrorist-cum-human for gallows. It has been decided after a prolonged wait of 20 years that 257 victims of 12th march 1993 Bombay Bomb Blast~Black Friday~, have perceived justice and the same appeals to them as incomplete, turning out into a National catharsis. With myriads of expectations and eyes lurking for justice, the cause of justice innocuously turned into rage of revenge and thirst of avenging the victims of bomb blast. The onus rested on the incumbency of 20 years of governance and the question of justice was brought up, at the beginning of each term, but with the glimpse, government could have taken a positive step towardsignominious efforts of predecessors; the demos prudential were left with a hope gripped in hands and painted in shades of saffron. The current scenario contemplates eyes of the common that the unprecedented issue is finished within a span of 2 weeks and still there are masses whostill believes that the justice is not served and questioned the technicality of law. The heartfelt condolences through empathy towards the terrorist-cum-human screamed louder than the shredded souls and bombed bodies. The questions raised by the rudimentary section of society left the “ignited Minds”to hover into the correctness of the actual issue at hand and left the righteousness of illicit actions to decide the fate of ‘’he who to be hanged’’. The 21st century has also stepped as a growth of Media and evolution of chivalrous mindset of scrupulous people, now they have actually learnt to raise a question and curb the dominating HAND. But eventually with time the power to raise question was capriciously confused with raising an issue rhetorically, they only wanted solution as the one they had decided while raising the issue. Thus this ideology and methodology turned the principle of ‘’Due Diligence’’ futile and connoisseur of law was vehemently questioned. The renaissance of conscious awakening, filtered people with a power in form of a right to fight for justice, rights and welfare, but consequently the same power left surreptitiously, a...

AAP ki kahaniyaa

AAP ki kahaniyaa

Ravi Shanker Kapoor Aam Aadmi Party boss and former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is a god who is trying a build a brave new world where the common man and the presumably common woman would be the masters of their destiny. Since theaam aadmi and the aam aurat would decide on each and every aspect of life, they would happily ever after once this world comes into being. But, unfortunately, everybody in the country, if not in the entire universe, is determined to stop the ushering in of this heaven on earth. From the corrupt Congress and the communal Bharatiya Janata Party to the unscrupulous industrialists (led by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries) is conspiring to badger the good, honest Kejriwal. Look at the way the two parties colluded with the country’s biggest private company and stopped it from bringing in the Jan Lokpal Bill. It is David versus Goliath—and there is many a Goliath to contend with. The AAP is up against a conspiracy of cosmic proportions. Or so Kejriwal and his buddies would like us believe. However, only the credulous can believe in such fairy tales. For many reasons. To begin with, Kejriwal does not offer any new solutions; in fact, the remedy he suggests—statism, in a greater measure than what the nation already suffers from—is much worse than such problems as corruption and poverty. It is well known that Nehruvian socialism has been responsible for low growth and underdevelopment. Yet, the AAP’s believes that more socialism is cure for socialism, as evident from its subsidy-oriented and revenue-guzzling schemes that it wanted to implement in its short stay in office. The party’s fight against corruption also is equally puerile. The pivot of this fight is the Jan Lokpal Bill, which is portrayed as the holy grail of good governance. Fact, however, is that governance is a process, not an event; and this process is a function of administrative, judicial, and police performance, political dynamics, and the economic policy framework. There can be no improvement in governance unless there are fundamental changes in the ecosystem in which it exists. Changes need to positively impact the entire body politic. As with the human body, which cannot shed...

Jammu and Kashmir, Where Are We And Where Are We Going ?

Jammu and Kashmir, Where Are We And Where Are We Going ?

Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM**, VSM**  Commentaries on Kashmir have been the flavor of the season ever since Shekhar Gupta’s article in Dec 2013 suggested that the time was ripe for the Army to vacate the hinterland and restrict itself to the LC in J&K, declaring a ‘victory’ of sorts for the Indian State. A series of articles in response by informed military leaders argued that there was no question of a victory against our own people and that the Army was as yet relevant. This is because the conflict stabilization stage in J&K was still existent. Any decisions about diluting the Army’s role in the stabilization process would need to be taken in the light of the potential situation in the region as the draw down and vacation of Afghanistan is commenced by the ISAF in Afghanistan. These decisions need not be taken under pressure of adversarial propaganda about the presence of disproportionate strength of the Army in J&K. We also need not be pressurized about the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) presence or begin to think that its job is over because the residual strength of terrorists is extremely low. It needs to be remembered that the RR was raised for a purpose. Some claim it was to defeat insurgency while the truth actually points to the fact that it was raised for the purpose of re-integrating J&K with India; the task of re-integration has not yet been completed and therefore the necessity of the RR’s presence in Kashmir remains. Currently the main theme of all discussions on Kashmir is the likely effect of the withdrawal of the ISAF by end of 2014. Will it see a repeat of the events of 1989 which witnessed the inception of militancy and entry of foreign militants in Kashmir? The less informed are assuming that Kashmir will see much more turbulence in 2014-15. However, it perhaps may be  incorrect to template 1989 to 2014. The situation is vastly different. There are very few mercenaries in Afghanistan whose main commitment will be to assist the Taliban against the Afghan National Army without much attention towards Kashmir. The Pakistan Army will similarly be more...

Waking up to Inflation

Waking up to Inflation

Ravi Shanker Kapoor After almost a decade of misrule, it has dawned on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that inflation is… well, something very bad. So, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram recently said that inflationary pressure and structural bottlenecks were hurting the growth process—something that was obvious to all but the entitlement-obsessed dogmatists. Chidambaram is little better than Rahul Gandhi who realized in the last week of December 2013 that fruits and vegetables should be exempted from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act by January 15. The diktat to the Congress chief ministers was in response to the fact that fruits and vegetables have contributed much to food inflation. On the face of it, it is astonishing that a coalition that came to power for the sake of the aam aadmi remained oblivious to something that concern all sections of society, especially the poor. The numbers tell the story: retail inflation during four years (1999-2003) of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule was 3.1 per cent, while it was 6.1 per cent under UPA I and around 10 per cent under UPA II. These are the estimates by Zyfin, a financial information company. These figures prove beyond doubt that the UPA regime has been an unmitigated disaster for not only India Inc but also for the man in the street. Consider the irony: the fortunes of the grand old party revived on the premises that the NDA, under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was blind to the concerns of the poor, that it was preoccupied with growth and was insouciant about ‘inclusion,’ and that the need of the hour was ‘inclusive growth’—and what we get instead is jobless growth (60 million jobs during 1999-2004 and three million during 2004-10) and high inflation! Political consequences are also becoming evident; the GOP has been on a losing streak, despite its apparent solicitude for the ‘marginalized’ and the ‘downtrodden.’ So, now UPA grandees are waking up to such mundane issues like inflation and employment. They were so busy perfecting the right-oriented political philosophy and implementing its dogmas that it never occurred to them that high prices and dearth of jobs could hurt common people. The rural employment guarantee scheme,...

AAP-The New Kid on the Block, another rat in the rat race – Pankaj Bhatiya

AAP-The New Kid on the Block, another rat in the rat race – Pankaj Bhatiya

John Kenneth Galbraith was absolutely right when he said “Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory”. It is only because of this admirable quality of politics that people who supported AAP in its crusade against Congress party and its culture of corruption are now OK to take support from the very same party to form a government in Delhi. Isn’t it another example of compromising your core principles and values to come to power? Isn’t it yet another classic example of political opportunism by AAP leaders? Come on you cannot fool people by simply putting the ball in Janata’s court by saying that Janata asked you to form the government with Congress’s support. Decision on such important national issues by bunch of people gathered at some chauraha or nukkad of a city cannot be termed as majority’s decision. Talking big and righteous from outside to impress people is the easiest thing to do. The real test begins when you come to power. 24X7 live show of AAP Nautanki on news channels proves that these guys were not expecting to come to power ever so easily. They are actually staggered and seem to have no clue what to do and how to do. Whether it is overnight U turn by Kejriwal on posh 200 Cr bungalow in premium Delhi location, unnecessary cheap publicity of him taking metro to Vidhan Sabha for oath taking ceremony or calling off his much ado about nothing Janta Darbars, all these incidents prove only one thing that these guys are immature and inexperienced. I am sure that even people of Delhi who voted for AAP had never expected them to come to power and are now getting frustrated with daily nautanki. Kejriwal promised that all corrupt leaders of both Congress & BJP will be sent to jail within a month of coming to power. Now with Congress supporting the AAP government can the honourable CM of Delhi really dare to send even a single Congress leader to jail! And there is no question of sending any BJP leader to jail for corruption charges as they were not in power from last 15 years. So don’t worry nobody...

Meera Sanyal: AAP’s useful idiot?

Meera Sanyal: AAP’s useful idiot?

 Ravi Shanker Kapoor There is an interesting term that was perhaps coined by Lenin—‘useful idiots.’ It connoted the intellectuals who were seduced by the mendacious claims of communism and who sympathized with the ideology. Unaware of the real nature and goals of Bolshevism, these credulous grandees bestow considerable respectability on the political philosophy that was responsible for the death of over 100 million people. This is what made them idiotic, while their usefulness lied in promoting the vicious ideology. Evil, be it socialism or militant Islam, has meretricious charms, to which many well-meaning people fall. The latest victim could be CEO & chairperson of RBS India Meera H. Sanyal. She could be the Aam Aadmi Party’s useful idiot because her own beliefs are poles apart from those of AAP’s. One of the principles that she cherishes, as per her website, is that one should prosper on the basis of one’s “own enterprise and hard work.” This is in consonance with classical liberalism. But it is astonishing that Sanyal chooses to ignore the AAP’s disdain for philosophy of liberty. Its Vision Document reeks of dirigisme, the antithesis of freedom. Further, party ideologue Yogendra Yadav has admitted that the AAP believes in socialism, and its two decisions, on free water and subsidized electricity, leave no doubt about its creed. In a recent interview to Business Standard, she said, “I believe this [corporate bosses joining politics] is a very positive development. Up to very recently, politics in India was considered a dirty business—and therefore people with ideals, integrity, and competence eschewed it. India needs good leaders and honest and competent administrators—and we have several such talented people in the corporate sector. Their entry into politics is a very healthy and encouraging sign.” Inasmuch as attracting “people with ideals, integrity, and competence” to politics is concerned, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal deserves full marks. But the question is: what would these people do? She said, “I look forward to contributing to the formulation of AAP’s economic policy and manifesto.” But this begs the question: contributing to what? It would be good if she is able to engender a paradigm shift in the AAP’s economic philosophy. The danger, however, is that...

Praising the Demon to Survive

Since the last few decades, a few religious identities, new community definitions and the idea of State underwent a significant but drastic shift. A new articulation of ‘we feeling’, Biradari (brotherhood) and engagement of small numbers (radicals)  to prove certain alien ideologies as a new culture for us all, gained momentum and aimed at nothing but the polarization of natives. Adfar Shah What is culture? In answer, I always say, what not is a culture. A total way of life that yarns the social fabric and tells us the codes of life while keeping us connected to our past. Culture gives us our identity and tells us of our existing social collective that is so composite and inclusive. Today we are in every mess because we undermine the very culture and adopt all the political models to manipulate the same for vested interests. To build a culture of peace we need interaction (that is so limited) and of course the education (where is that?) that is peace based. The question is how to make our education a critical education? We can make it so, provided it gives due space to our local culture and context and is a quality education (I do not mean at expensive schools). The state craft always fails to see peace through culture for it hardly believes in the culture of the masses (to them always masses are asses), therefore fails to understand the culture for a collective social well being. In turn it forcibly imposes its own brand of culture based on repression and violence. It never bothers to see solutions embedded in the conflict itself but believes in its superficial elite/utopian theories for all solutions (that actually never translate on ground). Culture needs love and a good understanding to build a strong functional social fiber (reverse happening). The very culture if manipulated becomes the matter of contestation (conflict as well). Time has come to move from mere theories of culture to the practice of our own culture because we are yet to see our culture as a uniting factor and have been seeing curriculum/social ideas/media opinions containing everything but values of the society we live in. Unless we...

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