Kashmir schools open but students play shy

Srinagar, Aug 27 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir administration's big push for restoring normalcy in Kashmir by opening schools has received a major jolt as students have stayed away.

Last week the government announced the opening of primary and middle schools in the valley but here in the capital city hardly any students have turned up for their classes.

IANS visited some prominent Srinagar schools like Tyndale Biscoe, Mallinson, DPS, and National School but couldn't find students in any of them. 

"Admission for LKG scheduled for August 19 and 20, stand postponed. New dates will be announced later," read a notice on the gate of the DPS while at Mallision, school has put up a notice issuing interview dates for fresh admissions. 

"Teachers are coming to the school but not the students," said one official from the Delhi Public School (DPS).

Though the government has lifted restrictions on the movement of traffic in most parts of Srinagar and restored landlines in few pockets of the capital city, yet a looming fear of violence erupting any time has kept most parents jittery and they have not mustered the courage to send children back to schools.

"Sending my children to school is just not the priority right now, it is very risky, let the situation stabilize, then only I can think of sending them to school," said Abdul Rasheed in the old city area of Khanyar.

However, the government says it is working out the step by step plan of the opening of the schools notwithstanding thin attendance of students.

"A total of 1,500 primary schools and 1,000 middle schools were opened although attendance continues to be very thin in so far as students are concerned. The Education Department will try to operationalize primary and middle schools in areas where there are no restrictions," said Rohit Kansal, a government spokesperson.

The real challenge though for the government will be opening the higher secondary schools and colleges which have witnessed student protests in the past. 

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