Education has become the part and parcel of the lives of people in the modern societies and without education, a man is like a car with no engine. The Education department of Jammu and Kashmir has played an important role for the past two decades in increasing the literacy rate of the jammu and kashmir to new heights. This was possible only because of the good education policy that emphasised on all round development of infrastructure of all schools and with the slogan ‘universalization of education”. However, the educational institutions of Kashmir valley have been badly hit for the past three years due to lockdowns after the abrogation of article 370 and covid 19 pandemic lockdowns. During the covid 19 pandemic lockdowns, all educational institutions remained completely paralyzed with no hope of classes to the students. However, the education department has taken an important steps on war footing basis during the covid lockdowns to reach out to all students for continuing their education through the online mode. The department continuously provided guidlines, instructions, ways of adopting new methods to the teachers regarding online education for the benefit of all students. The main aim was to compensate the losses to all students and keep them in touch with their studies amid covid 19 lockdowns. With the instructions of higher authorities, The zoom classes have been started by the teachers throughout the kashmir valley that connected the students to the teachers with a ray of hope for compensation of their academic losses. The teachers did industrious efforts for the zoom and other means of online classes. the teachers reached students adresses, talked with their parents , motivated students, parents and community, helped students how to download zoom app, access other digital platforms and join zoom classes, collected mobile numbers of students with SOP guidelines and created whatsapp groups for online classes of students.The zoom and other online classes proved boom for the students as unconnected students received the live lectures from their teachers that helped students to interact with the teachers that brought a sigh of relief to the students. The lessons were delivered nicely and effectively to all classes with the dedication and hardwork of teachers .Video lectures, power point presentations, audio lectures, e contents, assignments, have been sent to the students through other digital platforms. Online tests and examinations have been conducted that saved careers of students. The students utilized all digital platforms wisely that bore to fruition.
The teachers also arranged community classes to students in the areas that are inaccessible to strong internet facility. The teachers delivered to students effectively through community classes with all SOP guidelines in place. Various Websites and Youtube channels have been also established by the DSEK, SCERT, DIET’s etc that made available all kinds video lectures, audio lectures, e contents, power point presentations, etc to the students with the help of experts and resorceful persons. Recently the School Education department has introduced the Learning Management System (LMS) to monitor the attendance of the teachers as well as the students during online classes. The LMS has been introduced in addition to routine online mode of education to monitor the online classes besides keeping track of the attendance of the teachers and the students.The LMS has been keeping the students linked with their teachers during the current lockdown period.Under the LMS, the students have been able to access the study materials online and watch the video lectures on the portal after logging into the system.To reach out to all the students, the education department faced numerous challenges amid covid 19 pandemic lockdowns .The first and foremost challenge was that the around fifty percent of the students living in villages had no access to mobile phones, lack of awareness and education regarding online education, lack of strong internet speed in far flung areas, lack of intrest in online classes, most students live in far flung areas and it was difficult for them to absorb in the new system of online education etc To cope up the challenges , the teachers launched awareness programmes regarding mobilization of students for online education and the government also supported by providing 4G internet facility that enhanced more participation of students for online classes. In Kashmir, online education was a new experience for students and teachers besides the parents as well. Despite challenges, this shift from offline to online mode provided an opportunity to the teachers to reach their students.
(The author is a Teacher at Govt Boys Higher Secondary School Beerwah. Views are his own)