Million-dollar coaching sector at jeopardy in Kashmir

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SRINAGAR — Parents are staring at a bleak future of their wards preparing for competitive exams after the government put brakes on the functioning of hundreds of coaching centres across Kashmir Valley. Those who run, manage and operate these coaching centres have vehemently appealed to the government to reconsider its decision.

The closure of coaching centres will surely have an adverse impact on the psyche of students who have started feeling that they can’t compete at national level competitive examinations.

“It’s not a question about money only but we have to take other important things into consideration as well. Our wards haven’t studied Class 11th and 12th in offline mode. How can they come off with flying colours when they have to opt for ‘flawed’ online mode? They have gone into depression. These children are very particular about their careers and the closure of coaching centres will ruin them,” Syed Muhammad Shafi, whose daughter studies at a private coaching centre in Srinagar told news agency Kashmir News Trust.

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After the ‘upsurge’ in COVID-19 cases, the government has put brakes on the functioning of coaching centres – a decision that has not gone down well with the owners of the coaching centres as well as the general public.

Today, Private Teachers Association in central Kashmir’s Magam town declared that they will open their coaching centres and will conduct classes through offline mode. “When markets are open, tourists enjoying at tourist spots in dozens, passengers boarding in over-loaded vehicles, political rallies being organized, why to single out education sector only. Students are suffering. Their careers are at stake. Isn’t it the responsibility of the government to think about the future of the students,” President, Private Teachers Association Magam, Irfan Ahmed said.

President Coaching Centres Association, who runs ‘Aspire Career Institute’ in the uptown area of Srinagar city, said that all the leading coaching centres are ready to cooperate with the government if these centres will be allowed to function normally.

“Being stakeholders, it is the responsibility of the government to take us on board. Government should talk to us. Let us find a solution to this problem amicably,” he said and appealed to LG Manoj Sinha and others to listen to the owners of coaching centres before taking any final decision.

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The owner of another coaching centre, who wished not to be named, said that if the situation persists like this, then this million-dollar coaching industry will vanish from Kashmir. “Many owners will have to down shutters as they won’t be able to sail through the financial crisis. Most of these centres are functioning in towns and cities where building rent is very high. A majority of building owners are reluctant to reduce the rent. Power bills and other charges too are proving to be a burden,” he said, adding that the majority of the aspirants are not keen on online classes.

Yesterday, students had staged a protest, urging the government to let coaching centres function as they have already been vaccinated and following Covid related SOPs.

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