ANANTNAG, SEPTEMBER 21: Minister for Education, Mr Naeem Akhtar today visited the historic Islamia Hanfia Educational Institute at Lal Chowk here which was gutted in a mysterious blaze on Monday.
Interacting with the school management and the locals, the Minister while expressing anguish over the extensive damage caused to the iconic educational institute, said it was a colossal loss for the State in general and district Anantnag in particular. He assured the locals that the government will support reconstruction of the building in tune with its distinct heritage character. “On behalf of the Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti, who is equally pained over the damage caused to this historic educational institute, I have been asked to assure you of all possible support from the government for the reconstruction of the building and revival of the school,” he told the school management.
The Minister said that constructed in 1346 Hijri, the Islamia Hanfia School is not only one of the oldest educational institutions in South Kashmir, but it is also a cradle of learning which has produced some of the renowned literary giants from the area. “It is a matter of great concern for not only the Government, but every right-thinking citizen of Kashmir that amid disturbances over the past couple of months several schools have gone up in flames especially in South Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian,” he said and added that a place like Kashmir which has been an epicenter of intellectual and spiritual learning, can’t afford systemic educational disempowerment of its children.
Mr Akhtar said the residents of this place shall have to seriously ponder over what is going to be the future of our children, if they are forced to stay away from schools like this endlessly. “The history is witness that even during wars, major conflicts and extended agitations across the world, education was never allowed to get disrupted,” he said and added that while the affluent class can afford to send their children outside the State for schooling, it is only the middle class and the poor whose children are being denied the right to education in Kashmir.
The Minister also visited Government Degree College Khannabal and interacted with the teachers there.
Responding to the issues raised by the College faculty, the Minister announced that new Post-Graduate courses would be introduced in Degree College Khannabal, besides providing a dedicated PG-level Chemistry lab. He also announced that a building for the Girls Hostel will be constructed in the College.
The Minister also visited District Institute of Education and Technology (DIET) Anantnag and discussed various new training modules to be introduced for the teachers.
Mr Akhtar said the positive transformation that has taken place in the educational sector over the past year would not have been possible without the support of the teachers, the parents and the students. “Insha Allah (God willing) all of us would together carry forward this movement for change with the same zeal as we did in the past,” he said.
The Minister was accompanied by Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, DIG Anantnag, SSP Anantnag and Chief Education Officer Anantnag.