Like in other parts of Kashmir, the number of private coaching centres in Kupwara has tremendously increased during the last decade. It has borne positive results. The students now have not to travel tens of kilometres to fetch better tuitions after 10th class. Competition among the students for excellence has increased and also the exposure and talent.
The highly educated but unemployed youth have got opportunity to teach in these tuition centres. There is no denying the fact that the improvement in the annual results of 10th and 12th class results in government institutions, particularly in science stream, is mostly because of these private coaching institutions.
But giving the formal education is not the only thing which can shape the human character of these students, who are going to shape the future of Kashmir. Most of these private tuition centres in Kupwara are located at a street near bypass Kupwara called Babur Lane. The lane is witnessing the negative impact of these institutions. From the morning till the evening you will see the students both boys and girls loitering in the street. The shopkeepers are angry. Sit for a moment at hardware shop, you will be surprised. A number of students buy fevicol (used as adhesive and is highly inflammable and contains solvents) which they use as drug by inhaling its smell.
Younus (name changed) who sells dry fruits blames the institutions for what he says the growing immorality which keeps most of the customers away from buying in the lane shops. A good number of teenage girls can also be seen along with boys and are playing with their future and the hopes of their parents.
It is also the responsibility of the parents who pay a huge sum towards these tuitions centres to occasionally visit there. Those who run these tuition centres must widen their scope of education. They are not there just to teach and provide notes of science and other subjects but also to guide these students and admonish them for their bad habits. We have already lost a young generation during the last two decade political turmoil we can’t afford to lose another because of these growing and alarming habits and drugs.
One of the negative results of these institutions is that since the students pay huge sum against the tuition so the rapport between a teacher and student gets affected. Just complain the teachers about all we discussed here the answer is not shocking. “We can’t admonish them for there is possibility that they will shift to another centre and in that case we the teachers will suffer,” says a teacher. So can’t we have separate coaching centres for boys and girls? I spoke to many teachers who teach at various centres. They appreciated the idea but at the same time said that it was difficult because mostly boys prefer to go those centres where the girls are in good number.
It is the responsibility of the parents, teacher community, coaching centre owners and civil society of Kupwara (if there is any) to ponder on the issue and to save the future generation from this growing menace.
Showkat Ahmad Wani is from Kupwara. He teaches history at BHSS, Trehgam and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org