Education is not merely a window to the world; it is without doubt the most essential means to move forward in social and economic progress. The course of human evolution through ages till this day stands testimony to this fact. Modern industry and technology-oriented world has reinforced the fact that human progress and development are inextricably linked to learning and knowledge.However coronavirus which has put the world on hold. So far into the 21st century, it is amongst the most significant medical challenges that our world has to face. It has put a halt to the learning system of over 250 million students in schools and millions in the colleges and universities. Students in Jammu and Kashmir face one hurdle after another. First, they missed out on classes and lessons due to abrogation of Article 370 and now, it’s the novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, outbreak in India and the world. Last year, restrictions were imposed in the Valley after the Centre on August 5 abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Schools in Kashmir reopened on February 24 after remaining shut for nearly eight months following the abrogation of Article 370. As if it was jinxed, the novel coronavirus was standing tall already to shut schools again in Jammu and Kashmir. While it’s a great inconvenience for many, it has created a spike in demand for online learning. As educational institutions across the country are arranging interactive online classes to help students during the COVID-19 lockdown, students in Jammu and Kashmir are finding it tough to keep pace with their counterparts in other states due to low speed internet in the valley. From Skype to WhatsApp and Zoom app, teachers and students are using all types of digital platforms across the country to save a precious academic year and continue with studies, albeit remotely.
Education should be the last thing to be affected by the adversities around.
These measures are meant to ease the education gap being created due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, Kashmiri students find it tough to take online classes as there is only 2G internet speed available in the Union Territory. “I think Kashmir is the only place in the world where 2.7 million hapless children do not have access to knowledge and information. Can there be any injustice bigger than this?” Education should be the last thing to be affected by the adversities around. Even in World War II, there was a school located right on the border of two countries that were fighting against each other. The army commanders, however, decided to let the school remain open. And, that’s the world war we are talking about!” (According to a report by the International War Museum- in 1940, many schools were requisitioned for war use, causing a shortage of school space. Lessons were held in unusual places such as chapel, pubs, and church crypts in order to continue education.)
( The author is a student of B.Sc Nursing at IUST Awantipora. Views are his own) email@example.com