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121-year-old Kashmir missionary school faces closure over land lease issues

February 5, 2024

St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School Baramulla, a revered missionary institution in Kashmir with a history dating back to its establishment in 1903, finds itself teetering on the edge of closure. The critical issue at hand revolves around the refusal of authorities to register students for board examinations, citing the absence of essential land lease documents. Operating on state-owned land in the Baramulla district, the school’s lease, which had expired in 2018, remains in limbo as the renewal application is yet to receive clearance from the office of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir since 2022.

Despite the school’s proactive approach in seeking the renewal of its lease and its pursuit of intervention from the Lieutenant Governor’s office, the anticipated relief has not materialized. The implications of this bureaucratic impasse are substantial, with the Board of School Education’s decision to withhold registration for board exams dealing a severe blow to the institution.

The school has, in response, reached out to parents of students in Classes 9, 10, 11, and 12, advising them to navigate the challenging circumstances and make decisions regarding their children’s academic future. This predicament arises from the broader governmental stance in Jammu and Kashmir, where authorities decided against registering students from private schools deemed to be operating illegally on state-owned land.

The Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) has voiced its apprehension and disappointment in the face of this development. In a statement, the PSAJK emphasized the shockwaves reverberating through the education community and implored authorities to grasp the gravity of the situation. They underscored the potential far-reaching consequences, warning that such decisions could not only imperil individual students but also cast uncertainty over the livelihoods of thousands of teachers and school staff. The association urged a reconsideration of the decision, recognizing the existential threat posed to numerous private schools in the valley and the broader implications for the educational landscape.

Source: PTI

Also read: Jammu & Kashmir: L-G Sinha praises Sainik Schools in states

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