Kashmir students are now attending open-air classes after more than a year of school lockdowns due to political turmoils and pandemic in the region.
Students in Kashmir have been out of school for over a year after the government put in place a curfew that prohibited the movement of people in the region. This was after the Indian government revoked the autonomy of the country, sending the region to political upheaval.
Year-long lockdown in Kashmir
In February, however, the Indian government relaxed the restrictions and Kashmir students could now attend classes. During that time, the spread of coronavirus had gone global, with many countries starting to record coronavirus cases. It was not long after that the country went into a full lockdown that included shutting down of schools in the region.
While many students in India continued their education through distance learning, many regions in Kashmir could not effectively implement distance learning methods such as digital learning due to the government restrictive measures such as lack of internet in the region. Strong internet connectivity in the region had been cut off due to the political standoff between the Indian government and the region, leaving only 2G networks for internet connectivity.
Poverty in the region has also made distance learning difficult, forcing students to drop out and despair of their situation. Mushtaq Ahmed Mir, a worker at a local education department indicated that affording a 10,000 to 15,000 rupees (£100-£150) is tough. Therefore, many students are not getting the opportunity to continue their education.
Mir indicated that a decision had to be made and the community in Kashmir had to come up with a solution fast to make sure that children’s education was not interrupted. The solution involved setting up classes in open-air, where students could attend safely.
These open-air classes have been a success in the community, providing much-needed education to students. Community leaders have also indicated the classes have kept many students off the streets and reduced the number of school dropouts in the region.
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