SRINAGAR: Two years have passed since all the Middle, High and Higher Secondary Educational Institutions including Professional, Technical Colleges and universities were closed in the Valley, starting with August 5, 2019 when Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and abolished Articles 370 and 35-A. First and second wave if COVID further made it difficult for administration to open schools. During this long period educational institutions remained active only for 16 working days.Recently, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir has been asked for holding community classes in addition to online classes, but result is not appreciable. Most teachers were unable to motivate children for either online classes or community classes, and it has been observed that teachers are just completing formalities and children are not coming to community classes.On enquiring, why children are not interested in community classes, a teacher of a middle school told to STATE TIMES that we are not in position to force a child to come for community classes. Even the department has issued guidelines for the purpose and we are doing our job. Any child who is willing to join community class can come but we cannot force them, he said adding there are more than fifty students in my school and only 14 students are participating in community classes.Some Prominent Educators have expressed concern over the deteriorating education system in Kashmir. They also showed their concern over the online class system and other education related matters. Keeping these concerns in mind, the School Education Department has asked the heads of the schools to ensure 100 percent attendance of teachers and students, in online and community classes, in a circular issued here.“It has been observed that teachers’ engagement in virtual and community classes in Srinagar district is approximately 85 percent. The attendance of students is as low as 49 percent,” the circular reads. “The low engagement of students and teachers is being viewed seriously by the higher authorities,” it added.STATE TIMES published a news on June 11,2021, regarding Directorate of School Education that Department is acting like silent spectator regarding those Teachers, Masters ,lecturers, Assistant professor who are working in central Govt. departments and private institutions as part- time employees.After two months the department has taken a serious note of the poor attendance of the students and teachers in online and community classes.The heads of the institutions have been also directed to put in exhaustive efforts to engage maximum number of students in teaching virtual community and conference classes.“ZRPs and DRGs shall monitor the engagement of teachers and students in virtual or community classes and identify non-participating teachers,” the circular reads.The CEO has stated that the matter about teachers who do not participate in online or community classes should be accordingly taken up with the concerned head of the institution, under an intimation to his office.On the other side, over 50 academicians, including professors from IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi and Delhi University, doctors, lawyers and parents from Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka, have written an open letter to CMs of their respective states, using to reopen schools.The signatories have suggested a plan to reopen schools in a staggered manner, starting with regions where the positivity is low.“Explore opening of pre-primary and primary sections before secondary schools, vaccinating school staff on priority, starting with smaller groups of students to attend once or twice a week, beside ensuring proper ventilation,” they suggested.
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