Why Civil Society May Have To Help Students On The Other Side of Digital Divide?

by Abid Ahmad Shah

Due to excess trafficking of data on this virtual platform, sometimes, it gets technical glitches, wherein it becomes impossible to open and use this platform for the moment.

Modernism has brought about the globalisation of education, where newer tools, techniques and processes emerge to aid and assist the process of teaching and learning development. The year 2020 was a watershed in the historical chronicles of education which brought the world to a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic and hastened a paradigm shift in the teaching and learning process.

Over the world, what followed afterwards was the adoption of the online mode of teaching. The pedagogical transition from in-person teaching-learning in the classrooms towards the virtual mode of online teaching was a maiden historical event in the historical chronicles of educational imparting in Jammu and Kashmir. Thus, online education has turned out to be a new renewed buzzword of the current times of the corona crisis, rendering the world in a state of chaos and utter disorder.

Due to the constant threat posed by the virus of the pandemic, last year, the schools were closed in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent any massive outbursts due to the Covid-19 virus. However, the Education Department started zoom classes in order to virtually connect the students and teachers, located at different places simultaneously which emerged as a success afterwards.

This year also due to the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic second wave again, the Government imposed a lockdown again which necessitated the use of online platforms, viz; zoom, wise app, etc for online teaching-learning processes once again.

In order to bring more transparency and accountability in the online teaching process, the Directorate of School Education (DSEK) a few months back launched an online platform called Learning Management System (LMS) in order to bring more accountability and transparency in teaching-learning process, which is a welcome step. On LMS, the teacher’s mark their attendance; upload content, assignments, etc on a real-time basis.

Besides, the community classes are also marked on this digital platform. Unfortunately, due to excess trafficking of data on this virtual platform, sometimes, it gets technical glitches, wherein it becomes impossible to open and use this platform for the moment.

A 1950 photograph showing an open-air classroom in the harvested rice fields to help students stay warm.

However, the biggest problem that surrounds online education in Jammu and Kashmir as of now is that few students, due to one or the other reason are not able to connect with the teachers online during online pedagogical processes because of lack of smartphones attributed to poverty or otherwise, phone in the custody of a toiling labourer father’s pocket during daytime.

So the onus lies on the civil society at large and the government, in particular, to financially assist these students because poor pupils are not able to buy and subsequently use smartphones due to financial constraints.

Covid-19 pandemic has brought ruins to every sector of the society, be it Primary sector, Secondary sector or the Tertiary sector. Thus, the education sector is also one of these suffering sectors. Although education has been imparted in a virtual mode, the world over Covid-19 affected states of the globe, Jammu and Kashmir is not an exception.

Besides, the Education Department of Jammu and Kashmir has played a key role in the whole process and teachers have rendered an exceptionally honest and dedicated service to serve the student community online for knowledge sharing and content creation and sharing. Besides, the heads of the institutions are playing their part by overseeing the whole process at a macro level.

The recent years have brought a new aspect to this pandemic hit century. Education as of now is in a state of flux. Virtual connectivity and revolution have added a novice dimension and colour to the whole process of education.

Thus the biggest challenge of the current and coming times is to be mentally prepared to face any challenges and digitally connect the students on a massive scale to disseminate knowledge and create the intellectual resources for the future of our country.

(The author is an alumnus of JMI and JNU, New Delhi. 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.)

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