‘Students can’t download books due to slow internet,’ says officer handling J&K school education

Srinagar: A top bureaucrat in Kashmir Friday said that students were not able to download textbooks because of the slow internet connectivity in Kashmir.

Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon, Principal Secretary School Education, expressed his view on Twitter while sharing the data about the number of textbooks distributed among the students in J&K.

“kids have no ipads/no access to desktops; cant download text books as internet is slow (sic),” Samoon wrote on his personal Twitter handle.

He then shared the data about the amount released in favour of Directorates of School Education in Srinagar and Jammu.

“Rs 2030.87 lac released for 1st-8th classes; DSEJ Rs 1105.44 lac & DSEk Rs. 925.43 lac; kmr div/ distributed books; remaining Jmu districts-dsej/ ceos/zeos to expedite in 2 wks,” Samoon wrote.

The high-speed mobile internet remains suspended in J&K since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.

The authorities in J&K have continued with the 4G ban even though a global pandemic has forced a complete lockdown and is infecting and killing people in Kashmir as well.

With schools shut, the students attempting to connect to their classes via video-conferencing are facing a lot of technical glitches because of the obsolete internet speed they have to work with.

The J&K administration on April 3 extended the ban on high-speed internet till April 15 citing the new domicile law as one of the reasons, in spite of the rights groups and civil society members demanding its restoration in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

There are at least two petitions in Supreme Court right now questioning the ban and seeking restoration of the service.

In one of it, the apex court on Thursday asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to file their responses to the plea.

The petition, filed by the Foundation for Media Professionals, said suspending high-speed internet was violative of a citizen’s right to equality, freedom of speech and right to life, guaranteed in the Constitution.

Another PIL has been moved in by Private Schools Association, Jammu & Kashmir (PSAJK) contending that the lack of 4G connectivity for internet is infringing the fundamental right to education.

The 2G internet facility on mobile phones was restored on January 25 after remaining suspended for nearly five months.

Last month, National Conference president and MP from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat Farooq Abdullah wrote to PM Narendra Modi seeking immediate restoration of 4G internet services in J&K.

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About the Author

A journalist by chance with over five years of experience in reporting, editing, and bucketing local, national and international content for my current organization. I have covered education, health, politics, and human rights. I like working for a daily, though I occasionally try my pen in long-form to connect personal narratives with history.

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