Due to persistent lockdown in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, first after the abrogation of Article 370 and now due to Covid-19, parents and teachers of school-goers have come forward to build a community to take classes voluntarily, NDTV reported.
This comes as millions of students in India are taking online classes amidst the pandemic. However, due to sporadic internet outage and unavailability of telecom infrastructure in rural areas, the government is also pushing the idea of community classes.
The government looks forward to the active support of the local communities to mitigate the loss that happened due to prolonged lockdown.
The classes will be conducted without compromising prescribed anti-Covid-19 SOPs notified by WHO or government from time to time, NDTV added in its report.
Asgar Hassan Samoon, Principal Secretary, School Education Department, said in an official announcement: “In this backdrop, to explore the possibility to reach out to children with no access to online teaching or learning due to digital divide, lack of mobile connectivity and unavailability of smartphones, after a series of consultations were held with all stakeholders.
He added: “It was observed that community classes were the only option to handhold, such children, with the active support of local communities without compromising prescribed anti-Covid-19 SOPs notified by the government from time to time.”
The classes are supposed to be conducted under the supervision of Directors of School Education in Jammu and Kashmir, Deputy Commissioners, Chief Education Officers, Zonal Education Officers, and school heads.
Adhering to WHO norms
According to the notified SOPs, the community classes will be held particularly for children who cannot access online classes. These classes should necessarily be carried out in open areas where children and teachers will have to abide by the WHO norms and keep two meters distance from each other.
“In case of non-availability of such space, staggered schedules or shift timings and student rotation should be followed as an option,” the notification added.
Teachers and students are mandated to wear masks and follow social distancing norms in order to attend community classes.
“Ownership of the initiative should be vested in local committees comprising local teachers, parents, VEC members, school management committee members, and prominent persons of the locality for mentoring local schoolchildren,” the notice stated.
Staff members, teachers, and students at high risk due to underlying medical conditions must not be associated with community schooling. They are advised to continue with online education from home.
The education blackout has completed a year in the Valley as it goes for summer vacation for a month in July. Before the schools could resume classes for the next session, an indefinite lockdown was imposed from August 5, which was furthered due to pandemic.