SRINAGAR: Top experts, administrators and academics Thursday jointly underscored the need to go for regular counselling of both students and teachers to help them combat the adverse fallouts of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing as chief guest a webinar organised by Kashmir University’s UGC-HRDC in collaboration with Government Degree College Bijbehara, Talat Pervez Rohella, Commissioner-Secretary of J&K’s Higher Education Department, outlined the department’s comprehensive plan for the mental wellbeing of students and teachers across the UT, an official spokesman of the University said.
“Under this plan, the psychological counseling-cum-career planning cells have been established and activated in many degree colleges wherein psychological counselling and career-cum-placement related guidance is offered to students alongside orienting and training teachers to extend help to students in coping with all types of stress during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Rohella said students need to be provided with opportunities to combat stress through sports, community outreach and extra-curricular activities. He lauded KU’s UGC-HRDC for organising a series of national and international-level webinars during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the second lecture in the ongoing webinar series ‘Covid-19 and Mental Health’, inaugurated by Vice-Chancellor Prof Talat Ahmad on November 28.
KU Registrar Dr Nisar Ahmad Mir, who was the Guest of Honour, referred to varied coping strategies against stress from the social science perspective, including inculcating healthy behavioural, emotional and social skills.
“We need to undertake a realistic appraisal of our emotions and reactions, control impulsive behaviour, foster self-esteem and harness a positive mental attitude to overcome adversities and lead a happy life,” he said, underlining the importance of organising programmes like these to counter day-to-day stress and deal with hardships in a sagacious manner.
Dr Mir offered services rendered by KU’s Clinical Psychology Laboratory to the higher education and health departments of J&K to undertake counselling of students and teachers working in colleges.
Director UGC-HRDC Prof Shabir Ahmad Bhat called upon academics and students to transcend adversity through balanced emotional responses and effective counter-strategies.
“No university or college can thrive in isolation. Therefore in matters of societal importance like mental health and hygiene, there is a need for a collaborative approach to addressing challenges and concerns thereof,” he said.
Principal GDC Bijbehara Dr Nighat Fatima highlighted measures taken by the college in countering the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic vis-à-vis mental health of students and teachers.
In his lecture, Dr Arshad Hussain, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, GMC Srinagar, discussed at length ways and means to overcome mental stress, use of technology for socialising and raising awareness, and role of artificial intelligence and psychotherapies in dealing with mental health problems.
Dr Showkat A Malik, Assistant Professor, GDC Bijbehara conducted proceedings of the webinar, while Dr Geer M Ishaq, Coordinator UGC-HRDC, proposed a vote of thanks.
In another event, the University of Kashmir on Thursday organised a book-release function in collaboration with J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages.
Two books titled ‘Achre Moth’—a collection of critical essays—and ‘Jiger Khante’—a collection of rhymes and poems for children—were released on the occasion. Both are authored by noted Kashmiri writer, Showket Ansari.
Renowned Kashmiri scholar and writer Prof Shafi Shauq was the chief guest on the occasion, while Prof Gulshan Majeed presided over the function, organised by the varsity’s Department of Kashmiri.
Underscoring the importance of developing genuine children’s literature in their mother-tongue, Prof Shauq said it was one of the important ways to promote the language and help youngsters to stay rooted to their culture.
However, Prof Shauq cautioned that objectivity and description must not be compromised while creating such literature.
“It is equally important to make such literature simple vis-à-vis language to enable children to understand it easily and facilitate them to develop their critical-thinking and literary skills in the process,” he said.
In her welcome address, Head of KU’s Department of Kashmiri Prof Mehfooza Jan said the Department is committed to appreciate and promote the creative pursuits of Kashmiri writers and to provide a platform to the promotion of Kashmiri language and literature.
Dr Shafqat Altaf presented a detailed paper on the book ‘Jiger Khante’ in which he evaluated, analysed and investigated its literary and pedagogic merits, while Nisar Gulzar presented a review of the book ‘Achre Moth’ and highlighted its literary elements based on research and criticism.
Former Head, Department of Kashmiri, Prof Majrooh Rashid said it’s the need of the hour to develop genuine and high-quality children’s literature in Kashmiri.
Prof Gulshan Majeed discussed literary aspects of the two books and appreciated the writer for bringing out the marvellous publications.
The book release function, among others, was attended by Prof G N Khaki, Prof Taraek Rather, Dr Mushtaq Hyder, Dr Kousar, Dr Kaiser, Dr Humaira, Dr Saima Farhad, Mr Zameer Ansari, Er. F A Wani, Mr Jameel Ansari, and scores of students and research scholars.