On the 50th World Literacy day, Video Volunteers takes you to Srinagar, Kashmir to witness how the local community is supporting its children’s education despite being in a constant state of conflict for the last 60 days. (Know all about Kashmir Unrest here)
The valley’s millions of students have been unable to attend regular schools due to the constant state of unrest in the valley since the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani. The heavy presence of paramilitary forces and curfews have shut down schools, business establishments, and other government offices in the valley. The worst sufferers of this constant state of conflict are the children, who have been confined in their homes and denied their Right to Education.
In these testing times, the youth of Kashmir has stepped in to educate the children of Kashmir in ‘Curfew Schools’ for free. These community schools were started in August when the youth realised that the Kashmiri children’s education and future was suffering due to the violence. Coming from all kinds of professional backgrounds, the youth across the state have been contributing their time to teach these school going kids in these community schools.
“Since the schools are shut, I’ve joined this centre to study so that I am prepared for my exams,” Aabid Hussain tells Video Volunteers community correspondent Shafat Mir in Srinagar, Kashmir. Just like Aabid, hundreds of other Kashmiri children being tutored at these makeshift schools run from individual homes, mosques, community halls, creating a safe haven for children to continue their education.
Despite broad international law which mandates that partied of armed conflicts spare civilians as much as possible the hazards of war, the lack of explicit standards or norms protecting schools and universities from use in support of the military effort means that fighting forces often make use of such education institutions for various purposes.
Even as the state’s Education Minister Naeem Akhtar directed the Kashmir State Board of School Education to prepare for school leaving exams, instances of military forces occupying school properties in Srinagar schools have been reported.
As countries celebrate the International Literacy Day, promising good education and future for their children, million of children across Asia, Europe, Middle East and America continue to suffer due to situations of conflict. For these innocent sufferers of conflict, education is imperative for those living in the midst of poverty, conflict, or violence. The continuous clashes between freedom-demanding Kashmiris and the Paramilitary forces have left 75 dead, and more than 1000 injured in the state.
According to UNESCO’s new Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report, India is expected to achieve universal primary education in 2050, universal lower secondary education in 2060 and universal upper secondary education in 2085. As India looks to become a global leader, it is impossible for us to make progress in reducing inequality, encouraging responsible consumption, or ensuring everyone lives healthy lives if people are not able to educate themselves.
Shafat Mir reports for KashmirUnheard, a Video Volunteers project.
This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Kesha Devi. Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ They give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.