Kashmir: COVID-19 outbreak, slow internet speed hit students hard

Kashmir: COVID-19 outbreak, slow internet speed hit students hard

Afaq Bhat
Srinagar, Apr 4: The outbreak of COVID-19 has once again led to the closure of educational institutions in Kashmir.
The schools, colleges and universities in Kashmir were closed on August 5, 2019, when Centre announced its decision to revoke J&K’s special status and divided it into two union territories. These institutions opened for few days in February and March but again the schools and colleges were closed for indefinite period as a precautionary measure. “No one can challenge the ongoing lockdown as it’s meant for saving lives of the people. We cannot fight COVID-19 by coming out from our homes and doing our routine work. At this point of time closure of schools and colleges is justified,” said an analyst.
He said, “After August 5 internet remained suspended for a long time in Kashmir and there was no way through which students could have studied online. But today situation is different. Internet is working. A few schools have also started online classes and video lessons but the students are unable to take benefit of these classes as internet speed is slow.”
On Friday the Jammu and Kashmir administration announced that 2G internet services will continue till April 15 as the internet is being misused for “spreading fake news” and by the militants. So chances of high speed internet in Kashmir look bleak.
“It won’t be possible for the students to take online classes at this slow speed. They will have to wait till the COVID-19 curve flattens and the lockdown is lifted. But more people testing positive for the COVID-19 is an indication that there is bleak possibility about lockdown being lifted soon. The students have been left with no other option but to study on their own,” the analyst added.
It’s in place to mention here recently a student of class 2nd of a private school had written a letter to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, about the difficulties being faced by the students like her in accessing the online classes due to slow internet speed.
An observer said, “After August 5, 2019, student community in Kashmir has been the worst hit. Their studies have suffered and prevailing uncertainty has put a question mark on their careers. Last year also many schools promoted the students either by conducting home examinations or assessment based on their assignments. But this cannot go on. If the high speed internet in Kashmir is not restored then students won’t be able to study online. Schools will have to find a way out as they cannot just keep on promoting children without them even acquiring the basic knowledge.”