121-year-old school in Kashmir faces closure as admin holds land lease renewal

Srinagar: One of the oldest missionary schools in Kashmir — St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School Baramulla — is on the verge of closure as authorities have refused to register the students from this school for board examinations ‘in the absence of land lease documents’.

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The school has asked the parents of students in Classes 9, 10, 11, and 12 to “eke out of the situation” and decide about the future of their children in view of the refusal by the Board of School Education to register their wards for examinations.

The school, which was established in 1903, is operating on state land in Baramulla district.

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According to the school management, the land lease had expired in 2018 and the school had applied for renewal of the same. However, the file is pending clearance in the office of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir since 2022.

The school management claimed that it had approached the office of the Lieutenant Governor for intervention but no relief was granted.

The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir last year decided not to register for board examinations the students of private schools operating illegally from state land.

 

 

Meanwhile, the Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) on Friday expressed its concern and disappointment over the development.

“The news of registration denial to students of the prestigious St Joseph School Baramulla, an institution with a 100-year legacy, has sent shockwaves through the entire education community in Kashmir. If such an established institution can be targeted, then it seems no one is safe,” the PSAJK said in a statement.

“We urge the authorities to understand the gravity of this situation,” it added.

 

 

The association said the impact of this decision will extend far beyond individual students.

“With every similar step, we may face the ultimate closure of hundreds of private schools. It throws the livelihood of thousands of teachers and school staff into uncertainty and threatens the very existence of numerous private schools in the valley,” it added.

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