Srinagar, July 15: More than eleven months have passed when the educational institutions in Kashmir were closed.
The schools and colleges were closed in the Valley on August 5, 2019, when Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and divided it into two union territories. Since then educational institutions opened for only a few days in March this year but were closed again after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
An observer while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “When restrictions were imposed on August 5, 2019 no educational activities could take place as the internet had been snapped. But after the lockdown was put in place in March this year, the educational institutions started holding online classes. At present the entire education system has shifted to online mode.”
The observer said that the private schools have taken a lead in providing online education but the government run institutions are lagging far behind. “The students of government schools have been the worst sufferers as there is no infrastructure in these institutions to provide the online education,” he added.
An analyst said that the students of government schools don’t have smart phones and other gadgets through which they can get access to the online classes. “Even the teachers in government schools don’t have hi-tech gadgets.”
He said that government had announced that the students from weaker sections of the society will be provided with the electronic gadgets free of cost and the teachers who don’t have smart devices will be equipped but it seems that the announcement remained confined to papers only. “The private schools have succeeded in keeping the academic session alive but the government schools have not been able to do much,” the analyst added.
An owner of private school said, “We have made every possible attempt to keep students busy by sending them online assignments and holding their classes through zoom and googlemeet applications. Our teachers are working hard to ensure that students don’t suffer. Online education has helped but actual classroom education is must for the students.”
He said, “Private schools are facing a financial crunch due to many parents refusing to pay the fees but we are ensuring that no student suffers. We can sort out the fee issue later at present our priority is to keep the students busy and occupied.”
Another analyst said, “Private schools are doing a good job but same cannot be said about the government schools. No one has any idea about the activities being held by the government run institutions. Off late no statements have come from the helmsmen.”