SOPORE , OCTOBER 17: Describing Sopore as an epitome of J&K’s resilience, the Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said the town kept its head high in tough times, inspiring a generation of people to stand up against injustices.
“People didn’t like coming to Sopore because there was no guarantee of returning home safely. Sopore had fallen on bad times, but today, I am going back with a lot of hope, promise and pleasure,” he said, amid thunderous applause from a packed auditorium at Degree College, Sopore.
“The faces of these students give me courage to do what I am doing, despite apprehensions of cynics about our people,” he added.
The Education Minister was on a tour of Sopore during which he visited Degree College Sopore, two higher secondary schools and a private school. He was accompanied by Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Yasha Mudgal, Chief Education Officer, Baramulla, and other senior officers of civil and police administration.
Recalling the history of Sopore, Akhtar said the “Apple Town” played an important role in the evolution of politics in J&K, “Sopore not only raised voice against falsehood but also produced great personalities like Farah Pandit (the first ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States Department of State),” he said.
“Despite being caught in the quagmires of violence, people of Sopore live ahead of the times. I see a lot of hope here. We will do whatever it takes to infuse a fresh life into the educational landscape of the town. Sopore will become the torchbearer in the field of science and technology,” he added.
In his address at SRM Welkin Higher Secondary School, the Education Minister said during the times of turbulence in the state, canards were spread about the abilities of the people of J&K.
“We were being pitied for our failure to create institutions but Sopore has made a change. We have shown that we can achieve anything. The students of Welkin are ambassadors of not only Sopore but of the entire J&K,” he said.
The Education Minister also urged the management of Welkin School to play their part in ending the educational apartheid in the state by adopting a government school in Sopore as “Model School”. The Welkin management assured to oblige the Minister.
Mr Akhtar later visited Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Sopore where he took strong notice of the absence of students. He directed the school authorities to ensure that the students come to their classes regularly.
“Schools are not monasteries. The absence of students reflects our failure. It shows we are lacking in some departments. This will not be tolerated,” he said.
The Minister also inspected two classrooms and gave cash awards to students who demonstrated their lessons. He also asked the authorities to complete the construction work on new DIET building on priority, while stressing the staff to teach functional English.
Mr Akhtar also assured the management that ‘Smart Classroom’ will be started soon at the school.
The Minister later visited Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Sopore where he gave a patient hearing to the concerns of staff and students. Mr Akhtar said there is an urgent need to further rationalise the resources in the education department.
“We have started cleaning the system by beginning from primary classes. We will give you more resources than what you ask for. But you will have to deliver. I will infuse a new life into the education system of Sopore but give me some more time,” he said.