Kashmir, students defy curfew and separatists: over 95% sit annual exams

Yesterday exams for the 12th grade took place. Today there will be those for the 10th. The student turnout was higher than that of last year. The Ministry of Education has determined that tests only incorporate half of the curriculum, given that the students have been unable to go to school for four months.

Srinagar (AsiaNews) - In Kashmir more than 95% of 12th grade students have turned up at school to take their annual exams. These pupils have defied the curfew in force since July, and the threats of the separatists, who had criticized the decision of Education Minister Naeem Akhtar who decreed the reopening of schools in conjunction with the exams.

Yesterday throughout the Valley of Kashmir nearly 48 thousand students of the 12 grade took their exams. Today there will be those for the 10th, which will involve nearly 55 thousand students.

These annual exams were awaited with a mixture of anxiety and worry. Since July in fact, an ongoing guerrilla war between rebels and government forces, following the death of Burhan Wani, a militant of the Hizbul Mujahideen group,  has kept schools closed.

During the months the school system has been severely curtailed and only a few students were able to continue the lessons thanks to some volunteer teachers who have taught free of charge.

Besides all that, in recent weeks several buildings were targeted by yet unknown vandals who set fire to at least 32 schools.

The influx of students has been higher than expected. They flocked to 480 centers open for the occasion, registering an increase of 2.56% compared to 2015. Today there are 550 institutes that will act as exam centers. In all, 6,200 teachers have been recalled to service,  to supervise and ensure the proper functioning of the exams.

Earlier, the state government had been accused of insensitivity towards young people, with the decision to hold examinations regularly despite the revolt. In the end the Ministry of Education of Jammu and Kashmir (Bose) decided to meet the students' difficulties, ruling that the examinations in this round relates only to about half of the school curriculum. Those who do not take the exams in this round will have another opportunity in March 2017. On that occasion, the tests will be on the entire course of study.