Parents seek closure of schools for winter vacation in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Nov 26 (UNI) Plummeting temperature and poor conditions in schools have prompted the parents to urge the authorities to announce winter holidays much ahead of the schedule -- at least for primary classes -- in the Kashmir division.

A group of parents told UNI here that there was no heating arrangement in schools, particularly government institutions, while the temperature was going down everyday.

The night temperature has even crossed minus FOUR degree Celsius and it would further go down in THE coming days, they added.

''We fear for the safety of our children. The authorities turn a blind eye towards this serious problem. They don't care because their children study in expensive public schools. But, what about those who somehow manage to send their wards to government schools,'' said Ghulam Ahmed, a parent.

Teachers in almost all government schools in towns and villages of the Kashmir valley reportedly conduct classes in sunshine to avoid the biting cold inside the classrooms.

Several such classrooms were seen being conducted in school compounds in Kupwara and Baramulla districts. The teachers expressed helplessness, saying the children cannot brave chilly weather conditions inside the classrooms.

Many teachers feigned ignorance about the heating facilities provided by the government during the winter months.

Another parent, Mohammad Mudassir, said several school children were suffering from cold related diseases in view of plummeting temperature and no heating arrangements in their schools.

Fayaz Ahmed Sheikh, whose five-year-old daughter studies in a private school, sought change in school timings during these days ''The school children have to wake up and get ready at a time when there is complete dark outside. They have to reach their respective bus stops by 7.30 hrs when it is extremely cold outside,'' he said.

Sheikh said the school authorities should change the timings keeping in mind the difficulties faced by the small children.

Hadiqa Aslam, a class XII student, also lamented poor heating facilities in the examination centres. ''There are absolutely no heating arrangements in the examination centres. We cannot write our papers properly because of the biting cold. We even told the autorities concerned about the problem, but it fell on deaf ears.'' Suhana Fida, a BA IIIrd year student, echoed Hadiqa's views, saying their hands shiver while writing on the answer sheets. ''The cold weather conditions inside the examination centres affect our overall performance,'' she added.

UNI

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