By Irshad sofi
Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs and habits. And the methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion and directed research. we cannot say that our educational system is having all the parameters and traits embedded in the definition of education neither we can’t challenge it’s functioning as per established policies and procedures to impart education in the region of Jammu and Kashmir. But from the last decade especially last five years our educational system has been collapsed due to various as well as continuous uneven conditions across the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and now UT as well due to Covid-19 restrictions. Even we can say that Globally J&K is the only region, witnessed longest hartals, curfews and shutdowns whether of political or any other issue. Which ended up our academic sessions consecutively by mere mass promotions, reduction of syllabuses and so called online classes without infrastructure and proper teacher training. We must ask ourselves, is this education system going to be continue to respond against lockdowns and shutdowns in same way. If the answer is NO! then these should not be the recurring measures in order to justify the responsibility and accountability in imparting education. But needs a pragmatic approach and expedite the process in shape of “Educational rehabilitation and reconstruction policy” for UT Jammu and Kashmir.
A recent, study by Azim premji University across five states were surveyed titled “loss of learning during the pandemic” highlighted how badly were students especially those in lower classes, impacted by sudden and extended closure of schools. Children not only missed out on the regular curricular learning they would have acquired had schools remained open, but are also forgetting what they had learned in previous year. According to the study, on an average 92% of students from class ii to class vi have lost at least one specific foundational ability in previous years. The corresponding figure for mathematics is 82%.Foundational abilities are those that form the basis for future learning. The researchers noted that a grasp of concepts in language and mathematics during primary school years form the basis of a students further learning in all subjects.
Now we should imagine, how much have been badly suffered the students of this particular region. The above study highlights impacts of only 10 months closure of schools, then what would be the impacts where schools and colleges remain closed for almost last two years and in earlier years were students attended classes merely for two to three months during the session. We have no separate study in UT Jammu and Kashmir under title “loss of learning due to frequent lockdowns” which should be, but one can understand and imagine what would be its results. Education which is supposed to be enriching, constructive, creative and a dialogue process but we laid so much emphasis on achievement by mass promotions and syllabus curtailments, rather than on developing the true potential of a student. the policy as well as decisions of mass promotions of a student and formality of to conduct examination of half syllabuses does not create good brains nor explore the potential of student. we only end up with completion of academic session, but without objective, like “a tree without fruit, a flower without fragrance’. This lot has been accumulated largely from the year 2016 unrest, lockdown of post abrogation of Article 370 and lockdowns of COVID-19 pandemic. Although those were the short-term measures and only alternatives to continue journey of academic sessions and well thought as well as planned for the time being by great thinkers and administrators as the time and environment demands those very steps. But now unless and until we will not assess its consequences and address it we had surely established the garden of like ‘trees and Flowers without fruits and fragrance” with mutual consent. Hence we simply cannot afford to get distracted when the Educational situation of J&K in this region needs full and special attention in the shape of educational rehabilitation and reconstruction policy.
1. The Joint assessment group should be commissioned by Directorate of school education and Department of Higher education consists of educationists, psychologists, academicians, sportspersons, research scholars and all other experts to assess the major educational losses incurred in these years and the variances against the standards. In other words what an educational level in all spheres, of student or beneficiaries should be in normal circumstances and how much we have been able to impart in these disturbed years the difference will be the loss incurred.
2. Development of curriculum in a comprehensive manner without deviating from established syllabus but as a supplement or additional textbook having compulsory features with special weightage to cover loss incurred and other developments.
3. An arrangement of daily schedule without extending scheduled hours in regular timetables to cover special supplement class with optimum balance of time and quality.
4. A regular quarterly unit tests should be conducted for this additional rehabilitation subject in order to measure performances and impacts within short span of time.
5. Both teachers and coordinators, should be provided minimum infrastructure of at least one laptop and projector along with necessary equipments to work under modern system or smart classes after necessary rigorous training. By this we will be able to fulfill objective in most appropriate way by using technology which is fast, accurate and efficient. This will also enhance technological adaptability among students and teachers which will become useful ground for all over digital platform.
6. Eliminating all Holidays and vacations except Sundays to cover deficits but providing with other incentive support as well.
7. Also like civil servants and other professionals, all teachers should also be made on duty round the Clock this measure can solve the needs of students for private tuitions to some extent.
8. All other best possible measures like vaccinations of staff, boarding facility, mohalla classes etc can also be included by team of experts and stakeholders, I just initiated the thought process to cover educational deficits caused by continuous lockdowns.
We don’t know about whether more lockdowns or closure of schools will happen or not but we know what and which suffers a lot. We cannot ignore health concerns especially covid-19 pandemic which is most contagious and deadly as well. But we must explore other ways to sustain our education system and address deficits as well.
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