Srinagar, July 1: Reopening of educational institutions in Kashmir in near future looks impossible as the COVID-19 cases are increasing with each passing day.
The educational institutions in Kashmir have remained closed for the past 10-months and student fraternity has suffered. Prior to COVID-19 lockdown, schools and colleges remained closed in the Valley from August 5, 2019— when Centre announced its decision to revoke J&K’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories— first the restrictions imposed by the authorities disrupted the academic session and the shutdowns which followed crippled the entire system.
Many private schools have started online classes to facilitate the students but the 2G internet speed is hampering the learning process.
In many areas youth are teaching the students in open air and appropriate is being taken about maintaining the social distancing. “Experts and medicos are of the opinion that life won’t return to normal till a vaccine is found to tackle the virus. Parents are not ready to take any chances with their children. They won’t send their wards to the schools till they are sure about their safety,” the analyst added.
The recent Unlock-II guidelines which were issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs clearly state that schools and educational institutions will remain closed till July 31. “Students have suffered and are grappling with number of issues. Despite facing all the odds students have put up a brave face to tackle the crisis they are facing. They have been left with only a few options and carrying out self study is the not possible way to fight COVID-19 and remain prepared to face the academic challenges which they have to face after the pandemic ends,” the analyst said.
“Universities have shifted to online mode to keep the students busy. The outbreak of COVID-19 has proved it beyond doubt that necessity is mother of invention as the educationists are looking for the ways and means to engage the students so that they don’t remain stuck in one semester for long. In other parts of the country internet is no problem but in Kashmir it obviously is. The government has categorically said that 4G internet cannot be restored due to security threat and the people will have to bear with the present speed till the situation improves,” he added.
An academician said, “The Education sector has taken a double blow. Schools, colleges and universities are in a catch-22 situation as things don’t look bright. The teachers in private schools and colleges are working on slashed salaries, while many institutions have sent their staff members on leave without pay. Many private schools are facing a closure threat as the parents have stopped paying the fee. There are many issues which need to be addressed and handled. If the COVID-19 curve refuses to flatten students will have to remain content with online mode of education and try to help themselves by self-study.”