by Tariq Bashir
A study conducted by Jaipur- based JK Lone Children Hospital has found that the lockdown restrictions had an adverse impact on the physical, mental and emotional health of the impressionable minds, resulting in an addiction to electronic devices, obesity and an irritable behavioural pattern.
The upsurge of Covid19 has taught several lessons to the whole of humanity. Its outbreak from the Wuhan city in China spread like a wildfire and engulfed the whole of the world within few months.
After the great war of 1939-45, it is the greatest challenge with which the world is battling. That war was disastrous and fatalistic in its nature, yet there were countries, which remained unaffected from its direct impact. But the Covid19 pandemic has not spared any country from its wrath.
The Covid19 pandemic has severely impacted the socio-economic and culture of the developed and developing countries. The outcome of the Covid19 pandemic is disastrous yet its impact on the environment, water bodies, aquatic life and avians has been quite beneficial due to the limited movement of humans.
Though its impact is evident on each and every walk of human life, education was, particularly at the receiving end. Let us examine Kashmir education.
The Teaching-Learning Process
The surge in Covid19 has compelled almost all the countries to impose strict lockdown and closure of educational institutions. Educational institutions were shut for all types of offline activities and were asked to switch over to the online teaching-learning process. This was a novel method in this part of the world.
Both the teachers and the taught were least aware of this type of activity. It took several months to understand the whole process. Either teachers were incompetent to adopt this novel method or the students did not feel comfortable with this.
The frequent shutdown of the internet and reduced speed was a major challenge before the teachers. With the dawn of 2021, the restrictions on the internet were lifted and the frequency of closure also decreased as compared to the previous year. This has surely made online teaching a bit easier and comfortable for both the teacher and the taught.
Nationwide lockdown imposed from March 25, 2020, resulted in the closure of all schools, colleges and universities for all types of offline activities. The only possible and preferred medium remained virtual classroom via the internet.
In the pre-pandemic era, the use of smartphones was strictly banned for students, but this pandemic changed this dictum and the students were asked by both the teachers as well as the authorities to make excessive use of smartphones in order to carry on their teaching-learning process. This has resulted in the addiction to smartphones and internet among the children.
In the garb of online classes, many children befooled and cheated their parents and engaged in several useless activities. A study conducted by Jaipur- based JK Lone Children Hospital has found that the lockdown restrictions had an adverse impact on the physical, mental and emotional health of the impressionable minds, resulting in an addiction to electronic devices, obesity and an irritable behavioural pattern.
Penalty For Offline
The interesting lesson taught by Covid19 is that the teachers and schools are penalised by the authorities for carrying on the teaching-learning process in the offline mode. In the pre-pandemic era, teachers were penalised for showing negligence towards their duties and remaining unauthorised absent from the schools.
But during Covid19, several teachers not feeling comfortable with the online mode of teaching, try to reach out to the students in offline mode by attending the schools and coaching centres. But this act of teachers was treated as unlawful and defiance of government orders by the authorities. Several teachers and schools were penalised for the same.
The recent act is of imposition of Rs 30,000 as a penalty on a private school in Budgam in the month of March for remaining open during the lockdown.
Upsurge In Webinars
Prior to the Covid19 pandemic, these activities remained the priority of only a few renowned educational institutions in the big cities and towns. As these activities required huge expenses and managerial skills, most of the colleges established in rural areas hardly conduct these types of activities. But during Covid19, each and every college of Kashmir division was proactive in conducting online national and international webinars, seminars, conferences, quizzes, essay competitions, and several other types of online activities as it was either based on no cost or low cost.
Boom for Employees?
Covid19 pandemic turned out to be a boom for one section of employees and at the same time, it has created havoc among other sections. Employees in the government sector are getting huge salaries for practically doing nothing concrete. They have been engaged in several other enterprises in addition to their government jobs and are making huge profits, but at the same time, employees working in the private sector including educational institutions are caught in all sought of hardships.
A good number of private school teachers, non-teaching staff, watch and wards and drivers engaged by the private schools have been disengaged for one or other reasons. The tsunami of the Covid19 pandemic has swept this ill-fated class and has left scars of wounds for their families.
(The author is working as an Associate Professor in history at Government Degree College, Uttersoo. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)