“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
From the very beginning of the NDA government, they emphasized digital education and yesterday the central government introduced the new education policy and paved the way for the new generation with couples of digital courses in eight regional languages. But digital education with no internet or internet with the 2G speed in J&K And other tribal areas seems like putting the cart before the horse.
In July 2019, Javid Nisar, a student from Anantnag, purchased an online course of Unacademy of Rs. 30k for an year. Using the course for about one month Nisar was incapable to attend the online classes because of the imposition of stringent ban to access the internet in the Valley for seven months.
Nisar told The Wire that the government’s logic for restricting the internet is absurd. “For the sake of national security, why are they ruining thousands of careers? They have IT cells to control misinformation or other anti-social activities. They must use that instead of restricting internet speed to 2G for all users,” he said.
Irritated with this, a couple of days back, he tweeted to head secretary RohitKansal, who denied that the administration had any plans to reestablish 4G speeds. Nisar wrote to him, “I had taken a yearly subscription on Unacademy for Rs 30k, my preparation was going smoothly till the unfortunate ban on the Internet from last 7 months.”
He said that he couldn’t control his emotions, “I was hoping to prepare for civil service exams but my dreams are dashed because of the internet restrictions.”
This rigorous ban on the internet thwarted the youth in Kashmir Valley and terribly affected their studies. This is a plight of double whammy. They will be incompetent to the students outside the valley because study material, online courses and even registration requires high speed internet.
Faizanul Haq, Pulwama resident, has been trying to apply for various universities outside Kashmir. He had to apply multiple times because the internet is so slow that it takes hours to open the site and in some cases it redirects to the home page.
A report by The Forum of Human Right in Jammu and Kashmir titled ‘The Impact of the Lockdowns on Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir, August 2019-July 2020’ has revealed following points-
- Only 27.62% of households in J&K could access online classes against the national average 41%.
- Between Aug 2019-March 2020, schools opened for nearly two weeks.
- After the outbreak of Covid-19, 2G connectivity made students incapable to attend the online classes.
Moreover, this period saw “frequent closures, harassment at barricades and checkpoints, and restrictions on mobile telephony and internet connectivity,” which immensely affected public health, and caused trauma and stress amongst the people, the report said.
This report is led by former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur and former member of the Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir Radha Kumar.
The report also claimed that “restrictions on the internet made it difficult for doctors to keep up with medical research, including the latest information on dealing with Covid-19. And even the policies of tracking patients and beds online could not be implemented there.“
Industry and employment opportunities in the small businesses, start ups, transport and tourism are amongst the most affected sectors because the use of the internet in these sectors is more groovy.
No doubt they introduce lots of fantastic policies like ending the rigid separation, flexibility and increase the age of RTE But they forget to introduce the policy with which they rejuvenate and digitize the government schools and increase the enrollment to the same.
And they have also introduced a policy which allows foreign universities to open their campus in India, to which BJP opposed in UPA 2.0 (2009-2013) claiming that this will increase the cost of education in India. And Atamanirbhar’s definition says build your own university which matches the international standard and allows Indian universities to open their campus in foreign countries.
All in all if the government wants to integrate J&K and digitize the education which is also the need of the hour, as Covid-19 Can’t seem to vanish on a whim, then they have to provide equal opportunities to students because they are bound to the same by Article 14 of the constitution. The Government has to understand the future of the world is present in their classroom today.
Written By Chanderveer Singh
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