Reopening Schools  

Schools in both the geographical divisions of JK are reopening within a week or two after observing a break of many months. Kashmir based educational institutions are observing winter vacation these days while in Jammu division these seats of learning have been shut due to pandemic situations. Now when the administration has geared up to reopen these institutions and all the necessary precautions with regard to check the further spread of covid infection are being put in place, there is enthusiasm and excitement among both the students as well as their parents who seem eager to find their wards again in the classrooms learning in the formal way. All other alternative ways of teaching especially to our primary grade students have proved either completely failure or less resultive. It can’t be completely denied that during pandemic period there was no alternative other than to use the modern technology and initiate online mode of teaching but for a longer period instead of yielding better results the excessive use of cell phones and exposure to computer screens for hours together is equally harmful to our physical and mental wellbeing. So the reopening of schools and the initiation of physical classroom teaching is the most welcome step at this juncture. Our future generation has suffered heavy educational losses due to the closure of educational institutions for the last couple of years. Particularly those little buds admitted during 2019 or 2020 in class 1st or nursery classes have faced huge loss as they are yet to see the normal classroom teaching because the three important years of their tender age have already got wasted in which they were supposed to learn basics of reading and writing. This loss would in no way be compensated for them.
Therefore children, parents, teachers and all other stakeholders not only should welcome this wise decision but should cooperate with the authorities at the helm of affairs with regard to keeping a check on the further spread of this infection. Following SOPs and adhering to the guidelines of the health authorities can definitely bring desired outcome. Maintenance of hygiene and sanitation in and around the school premises, advising students to shun the reckless behaviour and following the advisories can also help in mitigating the loss suffered due to closure of the schools. Collectively we must act as responsible citizens so that unlike previous years authorities would no way feel the need to shut the schools a month later.
A nation’s overall progress and development can’t be imagined without taking constructive steps for improving and strengthening it’s educational scenario. India’s ex-president and distinguished scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam says ” education gives you the wings to fly”. History is witness to the fact that only those states and nations have developed and succeeded in touching the skies who have prioritized the education system. Coming back to our motherland, we have seen from the past many years that education of our children has become the biggest casualty, as a result of which our future generation is suffering most. Due to the derailing of this sector children, parents as well as the teachers feel equally displeased. The last 2 years have hit the education sector badly due to the Covid-19 lockdown which resulted in a huge mental loss for students on a large scale. No doubt, students are attending the online classes but the physical presence of their teachers in classrooms has its own importance which all the students have been missing for the past 2 years now.
Now, when the administration has finalized to reopen the educational institutions on March 1st 2022 in the Valley after the culmination of winter break, there is new hope and both parents and their wards feel enthusiastic and overjoyed to be the part of normal physical classroom teaching. Besides adhering to the administrative guidelines there is need to take some constructive steps in order to compensate for the academic loss of previous years. Teachers need to be more vibrant, they must access the abilities and achievements of their pupils so that future courses of action can be ascertained. Parents and students must equally cooperate with the teachers so that while delivering their legitimate duties in the classrooms better results are expected. Hope the new academic year will see a better spring so that the already derailed education sector would forever be overhauled.
Writer is a columnist and hails from Qazigund Kashmir. 

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