Updated January 7th, 2024 at 07:18 IST
Education crisis in PoK sparks protests over neglected conditions, corruption, and high fee hikes
Dire straits in PoK's education amplified grievances as protests erupted over neglect, fees, and unmet demands.
Muzaffarabad, PoK: The educational landscape in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) remains in dire straits, marred by a severe crisis that has sparked widespread discontent among both academic staff and students. According to reports, despite pleas and protests, the state of education in regions under Islamabad's control continues to deteriorate, emblematic of the overarching neglect towards learning and enlightenment by the Pakistani authorities.
Reports emerging from PoK shed light on the appalling conditions within the education sector. Employees and students find themselves at the centre of a brewing storm of grievances. The long-standing demand for improved facilities and overdue salary increases for teaching and administrative staff remains unaddressed, adding to the mounting frustration.
"Peoples’ lives have become miserable," lamented Ishtiaq Mir, a journalist in PoK, shedding light on the predicament. “A strong mafia is doing business in the name of education, which is taking advantage of workers. The owners of private schools are retired bureaucrats who have considerable influence within the government.”
The educational community's cries for attention have fallen on deaf ears despite multiple appeals to local and federal authorities. Determined to have their voices heard, employees have taken to protesting until their rightful salary increments are honoured.
Simultaneously, students in PoK are also raising their voices against excessively high fee hikes imposed by university administrations, alleging a violation of policies set forth by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The sharp rise in semester fees has made education unattainable for many, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds.
"The poor do not have money for livelihood; how can they provide a good education to their children?" questioned Ishtiaq, echoing the sentiments of many affected by the fee hikes.
However, the Pakistani government's indifference persists, displaying reluctance to acknowledge the legitimate demands of both academic staff and students. Ishtiaq added that this ongoing crisis in PoK's educational institutions aligns with Islamabad’s motives, transforming these centres of learning into arenas of oppression.
Published January 7th, 2024 at 07:18 IST