The School Education Department is determined to shift the academic session to March and is working out the modalities and overcoming the hiccups which may create any impediments in adopting the uniform academic calendar.
While the Higher Education Department (HED) has already shifted the academic session to July in line with the National Academic Calendar, the SED is in process of finalising the modalities for the same.
The exhaustive exercise is being done after the J&K Chief Secretary (CS) Dr Arun Kumar Mehta in April this year said the Jammu and Kashmir will fully implement the National Education Policy (NEP-2020) from the current academic session and will also move to a uniform academic calendar which in turn will be synchronised to the national academic calendar.
In this regard, the SED had constituted a high level committee to suggest modus-operandi for shifting the November session of exams to March from the current academic session.
“The government has already taken a decision to shift the academic session to March. The committee was only tasked to suggest the ways and means on how to go about it,” one of the committee members who wished anonymity said.
The committee however has enlisted the concerns raised in the past as well as during the previous regimes which had initiated a process for shifting to the March session of exams. The initiatives never materialised because of the geographical disadvantage of some areas in Kashmir and also some winter zones of Jammu.
The previous PDP-led coalition government had decided to shift the academic session to March but the decision was shelved because of the tedious topography of several snow-bound areas which remain cut off for four to six months.
The SED in 2018 had constituted an expert committee to suggest measures and modus-operandi on the basis of which the government would make an official announcement for shifting exams to March.
The private schools’ body had also extended its support to the government on the decision to shift the exam session from November to March.
The present committee has however suggested a certain mechanism by which the Government can shift the academic session to March while considering the weather and climatic conditions of snow-bound inaccessible areas.
March Session in Kashmir 2022
These areas include Keran, Machill, Karnah, Gurez in Kashmir besides some areas of winter zones of Jammu division which remain cut off from Valley for several months.
“Whatever the options we could explore, we have mentioned them in our report and submitted it to the government for further course of action,” the committee member said.
It is obvious that neither the government nor the committee can ignore the topography of some snow bound areas but it is also mandatory for the government to come out with some out of box solution to adopt the uniform academic calendar.
“We enlisted concerns raised by the stakeholders in the past on account of geographical conditions of certain areas,” he said. But the government has been given the choice of taking few measures by which it can successfully shift the academic session to March, the member said. One of the options is to go ahead with the exams in March month in plains while the exams in snow-bound areas can be conducted a month later.
“Given the determination and efforts of the government, there is no option to say no to March session and it is also true that only 10 to 15 percent areas are snowbound which has raised concerns over shifting of the academic session to March,” the committee member said. The committee report is under consideration before the government.
“There has to be some small variations in it. If the government can facilitate the students and the exam conducting body then we can go ahead with the March session of exams even in tough situations,” the committee member said.
While suggesting an operational mechanism for shifting to the March session of exams, the committee has also laid stress on ensuring adequate number of working days in an academic session citing the academic losses faced by the students during the past two years.