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Ladakh’s Education System Collapses Under CBSE “ “Low scores in exam peril “


Ladakh’s Education System Collapses Under CBSE “
“Low scores in exam peril “

The poor performance of students is raising various potential questions regarding the recent developments implemented by the state and the Department of School Education in Ladakh. The first and foremost concern is the board change, which was done without proper consideration and analysis of its impact. Switching the board without consulting stakeholders was an arbitrary move. Are the officials of the Department of School Education confident that their teachers are capable enough to teach the NCERT books? How many pedagogy teachers do they have to cater to the needs of the student community? How many trained teachers do they have, based on which they were confident to switch the board to CBSE in such a haphazard manner? How is the summer examination session favorable for Ladakh when the temperature dips to minus 40 degrees in winter? Are the directors and CEOs not aware of the topographical challenges? What additional resources has the education department provided to schools to improve the reading and writing abilities of students?
The teacher community has the least to do with this process; many teachers at the school and higher secondary levels lack formal teacher training. Thus, it is not the teacher community alone but the entire education system that has collapsed. Ninety per cent of schools in Ladakh are owned and maintained by the government, but the remaining 10% of private schools have more enrollment than the 90% of government schools. Schools in villages are deserted as government schools have failed to maintain the community’s trust, and now private schools are seen as symbols of pride and success. This is where the foundation of government schools in Ladakh has crumbled and fractured. Without improving the condition of schools at the primary level and recruiting trained pedagogy teachers, this performance crisis will intensify in the future.
The Menace of Academic Arrangement
In recent years, the trend of academic arrangements or temporary recruitment has been promoted and adopted by the Department of School Education at both primary and secondary levels. This is a potential factor in degrading the quality of education. Merely supplying human resources to schools does not indicate that the state is concerned about the quality of education. Instead, it is a tactic to avoid the responsibility of recruiting permanent teachers and holding them accountable for the resulting outcomes. Teachers recruited on a temporary basis cannot be held accountable for poor performance because they have no job security and can be discharged at any time. The prevalence of academic arrangements at the school level is truly unfortunate and an injustice to both qualified youth and school children. Ladakh may be one of the few Union Territories that recruits schoolteachers on a temporary basis. This practice dilutes the credibility of the teaching profession and potentially impacts the quality and outcomes of education. The stakeholders should need to voice against this arbitrary process of recruitment, if they really concern about the future of their children particularly in government schools.
The Examination Session:
The administration needs to understand that the topography of Ladakh is not suitable for conducting exams in February and March. These months were designated by policymakers based on the climate conditions of the plains of India, not the harsh geographical regions like Ladakh. During the 10th class board exams in February, many videos went viral showing children forced to sit for exams in tough conditions with snow accumulating around 1 to 3 feet. It is unjustifiable to make children take exams in such freezing weather and write their papers for three long hours. The psychological and mental hardships they face are not considered by the administration. Moreover, keeping children in hostels forcefully just to prepare for exams was another illogical and insensitive move. It seems the administration was trying to justify their arbitrary decisions by putting children through these hardships throughout the winter season. Such moves will potentially threaten the mental health of the students. During exams, children need moral support from their parents, siblings, and elders, not to be placed in any authoritative situation that adds more mental pressure on them.Bottom of Form
Role of Stakeholders:
The administration needs to revisit its decision to switch the board from JKBOSE to CBSE. They need to assess their human and material resources. If the administration continues with this decision, they should present a complete blueprint detailing how they plan to improve the conditions of government schools. They need to organize workshops and brainstorming sessions with the community and VECs regarding the performance under the CBSE board and collaborate with the community to improve the situation.
Parents and community members need to voice their concerns against the arbitrary decision made by the state regarding school education, particularly on issues related to language, textbooks, examination schedules, and academic arrangements.
The teachers’ community needs to come forward to raise their concerns, especially regarding the high number of students failing to qualify for the examinations. They should share their experiences about the changes before and after switching the board and highlight the challenges students are facing in the classroom. These concerns can be shared through journals, social media platforms, school publications, regional newspapers, and other potential mediums.
This is the first board exam under CBSE, and all the stakeholders are not so fond of the results. Together, we can build a strong school system where the future of Ladakh will flourish and thrive.

Inputs from : Bashir Ahmad
The author was born and brought up in Kargil Ladakh. Currently, he is a research scholar at Delhi University.

Ladakh Times is a participatory media house based in Ladakh, tells untold stories, playing an active role of collecting news and information.

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