Srinagar, June 30: Amid COVID-19 lockdown, community schools offer hope to students, who are unable to attend classes in Kashmir.
With no improvement in the situation due to COVID-19, there are many Kashmiri youth who don’t want students to suffer. They have set up community schools in various areas of the valley.
One such school has been set up at Katainwali village, which lies around 10 kilometres from Baramulla town.
Khalid Rashid, 28, is one among eight teachers in this community school.
He said, “Educational institutions remained closed post August 5 in Kashmir, then there was winter vacation and now COVID-19 lockdown. We don’t want students’ education to suffer.”
He said they earlier started taking online classes but were difficult for students to understand due to the 2G network issue. Though the teachers would send assignments but the students were experiencing difficulties due to low internet speed.
Parvez Ahmad Famda, 39, is another teacher who is taking classes to students in this community school.
He wants to make sure children don’t miss out on schooling and stay in touch with their books amid COVID-19 lockdown.
“Every day we take classes at four different locations in the village in the first half and four locations in the second half. We don’t want to gather all students in one place,” Famda told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
Around 200 students of this village are studying in three schools. As schools remain closed due to COVID-19, these young teachers voluntarily teach these students.
They have decided to continue community school till COVD-19 lockdown is not over and schools are not reopened in Kashmir.
Authorities have directed schools to start online classes for students. However, students are not able to study online in Kashmir due to low internet speed.
Mohammad Hussain Dar is another youth, who has started community school at Kamad in Anantnag district.
“I teach students upto 9th class in various shifts,” he said.
Dar is a graduate and has also done BEd. He also started community school during 2016 and 2018 unrest.
Authorities of High School Kamad have appreciated him and other teachers for starting community school in the village.
“Most of the students are very small. We want them to maintain proper distance and wash hands with sanitisers,” he said.
Omar Ahmad, who is pursuing post-graduation, has also started a community school along with other youth in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
“It pained me while seeing children remain disturbed and stay away from studies due to COVID-19 lockdown. I then started a community school and taught students at my home. These schools are only hope for students in Kashmir unlike other parts of the world, where students learn through e-learning methods,” he said.
Parents of students have all praise for such youth who have started community school.
As uncertainty looms large over reopening of schools, the government has also stressed for starting community schools.
“In view of continuous COVID-19 lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir, all local teachers, masters and lecturers may volunteer for community schooling within their locality, mohalla, village with parental support while strictly adhering to all SOPs social distancing and preventive measures,” Principal Secretary Education Department Dr Asgar Samoon has said.
The schools in Kashmir had opened after a gap of over six months after they were shut in August last year with the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. In March, the schools were again closed down as part of the lockdown announcement to thwart the spread of global pandemic Covid-19. KINS