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Find a way out


Education system in Jammu and Kashmir is probably going through the worst crisis of this century. For the last nearly two years, schools have been closed. First due to the lockdown enforced by the authorities in the backdrop of Article 370 revocation and then a global pandemic which forced the entire world to go into hibernation. While wave after wave of the pandemic has kept the world guessing and millions were affected by it, the education system is probably the worst affected of all institutions. In Kashmir, schools have not gone beyond Zoom classes in the last two years. While in the beginning one could understand and accept online ‘learning’ as an alternative to classrooms, it is high time now that the authorities as well as the schools devise some efficient and effective mechanism to deliver classes. The authorities must take assistance from the brightest minds in academia to tackle this challenge as it involves our future. The children stuck to digital devices in the name of education should not become a norm here. Our schools should not pass a poor interaction on Zoom application as an alternative to classrooms. One understands that schools, parents, as well as the government are in a catch-22 situation. We all know how Covid-19 threat still looms large and how situations turn from bad to worse in a matter of a few days. Hence, everyone is cautious about sending their children to schools. At the same time, however, we all are doubly concerned about the lack of proper alternatives to classroom education and going by the current trends, it seems that schools are not going to reopen any time soon this year too. So, what should be way ahead? It is imperative that the government takes help of top education consultants and academicians around the country to find a way out of this. The students in Jammu and Kashmir cannot afford to lose anymore of their precious time to online classes which are in no way helpful. The process of education has to resume even during this pandemic. The authorities need to find a way to do it safely. One of the ways would be schools reopening in a month but with only 30 percent of attendance. This proposal has been backed by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) which is working on guidelines for the reopening of schools after the lockdown. Some of the suggested measures include having no assembly sessions, seminars and gatherings in schools for a long time. Apart from this, schools are also likely to call only 30 per cent of students at a time to maintain social distance.