As of now, we can’t replace education with any such thing which will hold the credit of education at all. It is the only process in the universe from conception of world till end; Education is the source and will be always an outstanding source for nurturing the minds of masses. Education moulds the behavior, shapes the character, enhances the ideas, and enriches the mental power. We had lost a lot in this pandemic that cannot be returned at any cost but what we can make our future now onwards by continuing our Education. Physical presence of students in the school premises is most important than anything now. Virtual education is not deniable but what we learnt from off line education may not be possible to achieve through online. Like ethics, importance of individual differences, team work etc. According to MacDoogual,”student in the four walls of school is like a diamond under the soil, and when he come out, he costs unlimited”, therefore schooling of children is like to circulate blood in the body, each and every part is affected with and purifies. It is a classical assertion that children are the future and the builders of the nation. Undoubtedly, their stubborn upbringing, advancement and progression is the development of the nation itself. Child’s notions serve as a base for the nation’s futuristic ideas and vision. But keeping in view, the prolonged closure of educational institutions now raises many questions for the futuristic ideas and the vision a nation is yearning for. If there are no constraints on operation of restaurants, shopping malls and other public places including the public parks and tourist destinations then why only a classroom is seen as a primary driver of COVID-19 transmission? . Unfortunately, from the last two years students are away from schools, first due to the sudden abrogation of article 370/35-A and the ongoing Covid Pandemic. Pertinently, to shut down schools when everything is open, is not only a violation of a constitutional right of lakhs of students of Jammu and Kashmir but it also shows us the misplaced priorities of the government at the helm and the academic deficit in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Everything can wait but education cannot. Outside JandK the educational institutions are operating significantly but unfortunately the administration in this part of the world is yet to take a decision and is lagging behind. As everyone knows how much formal education is critical for the evolution of mankind but administration in j&k has shifted from formal education to online mode for the benefit and welfare of the students but unfortunately 70-80% school children in j&k don’t have access to digital devices to avail education online. If we notice far-flung areas, they don’t have manageable availability of electricity as well. However, the Govt of j&K has recently taken an initiative of delivering community classes for the students. The classes are supposed to be in open air within the premises or outside the schools depending on the availability of open space. But citing city schools which are mostly operating in rented buildings which don’t have open space for classes.
The closure of the schools has also impacted the student’s emotional and mental health. Children are confined to their homes where they are facing domestic challenges and have also become easy stimulants to depression and trauma. The pandemic has devastated the dreams of millions of children’s. None of the things can repay for students’ loss but at least the administration should provide scholarships to students which may help them to buy new smart phones to avail online classes on time. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the online classes are creating more societal problems than compensating educational loss. At this crucial juncture, I remember Aklesh Yadav, the former CM of Uttar Pradesh who once distributed laptops among the deserving students. Possibly, the Jammu and Kashmir administration can follow the same to reduce the gap.In J&K educational institutions remained sealed for physical class work but states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh have agreed on to reopen the schools in a phased manner for normal class work. Besides, the Tamil Nadu government has proposed to reopen schools for physical class work for 9th to 12th from September this month with 50% attendance while the Karnataka government has also decided to reopen schools for students from Class 9th to 12th. The government in Uttar Pradesh has also decided to reopen the schools. Apart from physical entry to school, the norms and other facets like morning assembly, uniform and group discussions have also played a role in growth. This helps in personality development of the students as well as of the teachers. The administration of Jammu and Kashmir should also consider the impact of the prolonged closure of the schools and reopen educational institutions in a phased manner by following all the necessary covid protocols for the better safety of all the students. In this way education will be beneficial for students academically, emotionally and can give fundamental growth to the human capital of the state also. I am of the opinion that for the better growth and intellectual fertility of the students, the reopening of schools, colleges and universities is the need of the hour.
( The author is a Research Scholar at the Department of Education Aligarh Muslim University. Views are his own)