The Covid-19 spared no sphere of life. Education is no exception. The outbreak disrupted the academic year, canceled classes and examinations across the country including Jammu and Kashmir. Technological aid was sought and resorted to by all including government schools in J&K despite limitations on internet speed. This was done to ensure that students do not miss out on their studies. Attempts were made, of late, on how to arrive at a balanced blend between online and offline modes of teaching-learning and evaluation processes. Over these months, various prospects of what will be the best combination that an institution can adopt for the benefit of the student community were weighed. Kashmir University and many other higher learning institutions have adopted an online assignment based examination for all but last term examination of the students. Those appearing in the last term are to sit in examination and it would reduce the number of participants, thus allowing physical distancing of those appearing at the examination centres as well as reduce crowds at the university campuses.
Other higher education institutes also need to have short-term and long-term perspective plans to tackle the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in the education sector. Every crisis, natural or man-made, poses serious problems and challenges. As part of the responsibility to convert the challenges into constructive opportunities, there is need to work out things for the students’ welfare. Situations such as the one due to covid-19 lockdown can cause devastating sense of emotional damage, anxiety and uncertainty among teachers, students and their parents about classes, examinations and academic progression. There is a need to address these issues systematically and find viable solutions to the satisfaction of all. As Kashmir University and some other varsities have done, examinations of the final (terminal) semester students of post-graduate and undergraduate courses should be conducted. For intermediate semester students, there is also a need to work out plans and conduct their examinations online so as to ensure that students do not face any problems in their career opportunities in the future. The opening of schools and colleges looks remote. The MHA has already ordered the closure of the institutions till July 31. For students who have final examinations at a few months distant in time, teaching-learning processes should be maintained either online or offline. At some places, schools can be opened in a staggered manner with 50% of students attending every alternate day. This will help avoid crowded classrooms. The priority should be given to opening schools for marginalized children as they might not have access to technology.