With the coming of pandemic many things changed and those changes led to changes in the way of living . Many things changed but what changed the most is the way of education. The classroom education changed to online education. While mobile , laptop and internet were not considered important for education , the same have become blackboard and Marker in the current days of pandemic .From the pandemic has arrived in India, students didn’t attend any physical class .Well while the Online education has come under strong criticism but in the present crises there is no way out other than online classes. It has been two years and counting but the COVID is still here and it’s intensity does not go down even now and with each passing day new variants of the pandemic are being discovered. Two years without any class is too much for students and henceforth no option other than starting the Online classes was left. However online classes thrown up many challenges and especially in Kashmir which had 2g low speed internet facility till last year when the world was looking for arrival of 5G internet facility. Well nonetheless online classes were started in the whole world and in the valley as well. Online education means Internet and there are areas in Kashmir where there’s no internet connection and students have to walk almost a kilometre away from their homes to get the internet connectivity. Not only that if we speak about the availability of smart phones or tablets or laptops, Many students don’t have access to smart phones leave alone the internet connection. And in some cases three, four or more children have only one smart phone to attend classes. No doubt that the classes were started to minimize the educational losses but it has widened the gap . BBC news in their recent reporting on online classes in Kashmir documented that how students of far flung areas in Kashmir have to cover long distances to have access to internet facility for attending the online classes. Be it rain or any other kind of weather disturbance they have to leave home and travel longer distances to reach the places where they can have internet facility. In another report telecast by top national news channel NDTV , the teachers were seen using camels to travel longer distance for reaching the places from where they would use smart phones for conducting online classes. It is also fact that decision on online classes deprived thousands of student of the right to have access to classroom teaching and henceforth the education. Conseq uently this has automatically created a wide gap between the students who have internet connection and those who don’t have it. Though government knows it well than anyone else that many areas are still without internet facility but still there is no policy extend the facility of internet to such areas where internet facility still frustrates students. This is undisputed reality that some are left out because of no internet connection and some because of no resources to buy a smart phones.
Well those who have both , have no idea that how blessed they are. They should consider it as a blessing that they have good internet facility available and that they don’t have to walk longer distances for the purposes of accessibility to internet facility and above all they have a smart phone of their own, which is still a dream for many people . The irony is that many students who have taken admissions in new courses don’t know who their teachers are , and the teachers don’t know who their students are. Another problem being faced these days is that mischievous activities are growing and the teachers are unable to control it . The link shared in whatsapp group for classes is further shared by some students to other people just to make fun of the teachers. The people who aren’t the students of said college/ class join the meeting and create fuss and puts teacher/s in an embarrassing stitution/s and leave. The miscreants join using roll number of the student who isn’t present in the meeting so that no one considers him the person who is student/s of the college/ class . This happens most of the times that when the student/s comes to know that his/ her roll number has been used to create misconduct, complaints about being in stress or feeling humiliated are noticed and in most of the cases students prefer not to join again. The people who do it for fun have no idea how it impacts the student/s who’s identity is used . Many people are sensitive in nature and can’t take such incidents as fun or joke. For many of the students these mischievous activities are in no way fun but they consider it as personal loss and even end up blaming themselves for the misconduct that took place using their identity. Whereas the physical classes are conduced according to a set time schedule , there’s nothing as such with the Online classes. Things here happen at the will of the king, where king is the teacher. I have heard my friends telling me about “Extra class” and these extra classes happen online. Well if we speak about the schedule without extra classes, the classes begin at 10:00 am and end up at 6:00 pm which means 8 hours on screen. Well the physical classes never go beyond 4:00 pm . And these long hours on screen lead to many health problems. Irritation in eyes and headaches and even neck aches are some common side effects of being on screen for a pretty long time . Recently a video of a young Kashmiri girl went viral in which she narrated the woeful tale of the long hour schedule classes. She also complained about the home work given to them after attending several hours of online classes. As the video went viral the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha took tcognizance and in 48 hours the policy was farmed and also the home work for primary level students was done away with. But as the news about the policy framing went viral on social media sites, many policy makers criticised it with the argument that they weren’t taken on board before announcing the decision. Well at least even if it attracted criticism, even them it brought respite to to the students. Still the students are pursing professional courses despite the fact that they have to attend online classes for several hours at a stretch as there’s no policy for them. Well now the pandemic is coming under control and resumption of physical classes is being debated and discussed . Situation demands that government extend internet facility to far flung area so that they avail the facility of online classes if situation warrants so. In future students should not face connectivity issues and students should also respect the teachers who deliver lectures online. Teachers have to put in many efforts to prepare lecture/s. The students/ people who create mischief in classes must know that it in no way effects the teacher/s but the person himself/ herself. And the teachers delivering online classes should and must keep in mind that they keep time into consideration while delivering online lectures because many teachers keep going on and on without thinking that the students he’s/she’s delivering lecture must have some work to do or might have some plans to do some other routine work also. For better results both students and teachers have to respond with wisdome to the situation developing during online classes.
( Author is a freelancer. Views are his own)