Srinagar, Mar 30: A leading missionary school of the valley started online classes on Monday but many students had difficulties connecting to the virtual classroom because of lack of high-speed internet in Kashmir.
The valley, like the rest of the world, is under lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic that has devoured people in thousands with over 700,000 confirmed cases.
In such a scenario, Presentation Convent Secondary School, Srinagar had informed the parents that the students had to download ‘zoom cloud’ application through which they can log in to the online classes and resume some level of academic activity.
Mukhtar Ahmad, whose daughter Tazkiya studies in class 4 in the school, said he was informed to log into the application at 10 am on Monday.
Mukhtar has a fixed high-speed internet connection and could do so seamlessly.
“After downloading the application, we were given a code to connect to the classes. While my child was able to connect to the virtual classroom, it was very difficult for some of my relatives and neighbours whose kids study in the same school to do so because of the absence of 4G internet,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
Tazkiya’s class has around 53 students. The classes began at 10 am and finished by 2 in the afternoon with some brief breaks in between.
“Before beginning the class, the teachers apprised the students about the precautions they needed to take against coronavirus pandemic. It is a welcome step and was a great experience for the kids as well,” Mukhtar said.
Another parent, who did not wish to be named, however, said she had great difficulty in connecting to the class as the slow internet did not help the “much-appreciated move of virtual education”.
A teacher who teaches higher classes in the school told The Kashmir Monitor that “95 percent of her students were able to login.”
“They must have had broadband connection,” she said, adding “the move received a great response from the parents.”
More and more people in J&K are demanding resumption of high-speed mobile internet which was suspended in August last year when the Central government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
With coronavirus crisis upsetting the entire world, lack of this essential service is felt even more badly in Kashmir these days by everyone including students, doctors, academicians, and even government officials who are not able to perform their duties seamlessly in its absence.