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Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], September 8 (ANI): Amid uneven terrain and hard climatic conditions, community classes are being held on the higher reaches of the Pirpanjal range in the Pir Marg area of Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district for children of tribal nomadic communities which undertake seasonal migration towards upper reaches for six months.
Seven such seasonal community centres are operational on the higher reaches of the Pirpanjal range to ensure that the education of these children is not affected due to migration.
Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Secretary to Government Tribal Affairs Department, Jammu and Kashmir said that the administration of the union territory has recently conducted a survey to identify hamlets in the region where schools need to be built. The administration has also planned various schemes for the tribal communities of Jammu and Kashmir to connect them with various facilities, informed Choudhary.
Choudhary told ANI, "These people live in the most difficult circumstances. They stay away from home with their herds of livestock for six months for a livelihood. A lot of focus needs to be given to their development on which the Jammu and Kashmir administration is already working. We are planning all possible facilities for them. We have also received feedback and suggestions from them which will be included in the plan. We have conducted a survey where we have got to know about the number of hamlets where schools are needed. This information has been provided to the Education department and the work plan has been chalked out, work will start soon."
He further said, "The LG Manoj Sinha has also instructed to build residential schools for the children of the tribal communities. Whenever these tribal communities go uphills for six months, they can leave their children in these residential schools where all their needs shall be taken care of."
Choudhary stated that the best thing about the people here is that they are concerned about the education of their children.
"Many schemes related to education, self-employment, livestock husbandry, health have been planned as per the recent survey. I would urge the tribal community to participate in those schemes and avail their benefits," said Choudhary.
The teachers imparting knowledge in these community classes urged the administration to provide proper infrastructure to ensure smooth and hassle-free education of these children.
Rukhsana Kouser, a teacher conducting these community classes said, "We have started community classes for tribal students here in the Pirpanjal area. The name of the centre is Pirpal. The students that come to us for the classes are very intelligent and good in studies but the problem we are facing is that we have not yet been allotted a shed. I would ask the administration to at least provide a tent so that these students do not have to face difficulties while studying.
"We have been residing here at an altitude of 13,000 feet in mountainous terrain. The Gujjars and Bakarwals come here and reside here for six months. I teach here from 9 am to 2 pm and sometimes 3 pm. There are students till class nine. If the weather is bad then I have to release the batch early. The climatic conditions here are extreme. It's extremely cold here. In the absence of a tent or shed it becomes very challenging for these children to bear the cold and study," said Kouser.
Sarfraz Lodhi, a parent of one of the children who attend the community classes, "The biggest challenge here is the extreme climatic conditions. Over that, the government has made no arrangements for setting up a tent or shed where these children can take shelter and study. I urge the administration to provide classroom-like structures, books, stationary, solar lights, computers for these children so that they can compete with the children living in other parts of the country."
"Another challenge is when the weather becomes rough, it takes a toll on their classes and their duration. Here the temperature remains between 5 to 10 degrees with strong winds blowing over the region due to the altitude. I also urge the administration to set up mobile towers so that a network can be established," added Lodhi. (ANI)