Low Speed Internet and woes of Valley students

Shahzad Hussain

Internet has brought about more advancement in education. The modern means of education is not just class work but online search, study & experience. Students use Internet for quick purposes to avail information. In spite of the debate and criticism against Internet use for students. It still contributes to the great extent in their academic journey . There are numerous advantages of Internet use for a student like availability of online lectures, video sessions etc without spending any charges. In Kashmir we have a decent schedule for vacations. Each academic year normally starts with 2 months winter vacation, and thereafter there is 10-20 days summer vacation. And 3-4 months strikes and curfews owing to its being a conflict zone . Now this ( COVID-19) of which no one had predicted hitherto how long will it last and hence schools & other similar academic institutions have been closed resulting in affecting the study of students which is no less than a disaster. The students are capable enough to study themselves but unfortunately the access of important tool i’e Internet has been confined to 2g which results in taking half an hour to load a single Web page adding more to the miseries of students .since the educational institutes are closed, the students who are aspiring to study need to have access to the high speed Internet as the solution this context lies in e-education.As we combat jointly COVID -19 by taking preventive & precautionary measures, maintain good social distance and confine ourselves to homes only, we can utilise this time productively by engaging with the online learning . There are several information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives of MHRD, UGC and its inter university centres (IUC’s) – information and library network (INFLIBNET) and consortium for educational communication (CEC) in the form of digital platforms which can be accessed by the teachers, students and researchers in universities & colleges for broadening their horizon of learning. There are several ICT initiatives like SWAYAM, UG/PG MOOC’s, CEC-UGC YouTube channels so on and so forth.
Right to access Internet is a fundamental right under right to education & right to privacy of Article 21 of the Constitution. Thus unreasonable & unjustified low speed Internet is an infringement of the freedom & rights guaranteed & safeguarded under Article 19 & 21.
To watch the education related videos on these websites, we need a high speed Internet connection which is not available presently. From academic journals to use of search engines to electronic libraries , the Internet is flooded with resources for students . But these resources are of no use if access to the Internet is insufficient. The low speed Internet is discriminatory in nature as the students can’t compete with those breathing hi-speed Internet in rest of the country . Kashmiri student is as aspirational as the student from Delhi and other parts of the country, but he/she is helpless as authorities are lending a deaf ear to his logical and genuine demands. Internationally, the right to access to the to the Internet can be traced from the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( UDHR) which states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive & impart information & ideas through any media & regardless of frontiers. In the Indian context Right to access Internet is a fundamental right under right to education & right to privacy of Article 21 of the Constitution. Thus unreasonable & unjustified low speed Internet is an infringement of the freedom & rights guaranteed & safeguarded under Article 19 & 21.
(The writer is a student at the Department of Politics & Governance, Central University of Kashmir. Views are his own, alfashahzad341@gmail.com)

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