Jammu and Kashmir: Volunteer Teachers, Parents To Start Community Classes; Government Notifies SOPs
Due to Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on the opening of schools due to lockdown, the teachers and parents in Jammu and Kashmir have come forward to organise community classes on a voluntary basis.
In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on the opening of schools due to lockdown, the teachers and parents in Jammu and Kashmir have come forward to organise community classes on a voluntary basis.
Catering to the need of digital divide and unavailability of smartphones for students in remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir, the government has come out with an idea of encouraging community classes in open areas and grounds with the active support of local communities to compensate for the loss to studies. The classes will be conducted without compromising prescribed anti-COVID-19 SOPs notified by WHO or government from time to time.
The decision has been taken by the School Education Department in light of poor mobile connectivity in remote areas.
Asgar Hassan Samoon, Principal Secretary, School Education Department, in an official notice said, “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, 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 community classes are to be conducted under the optimum supervision of Directors of School Education in Jammu and Kashmir, Deputy Commissioners, Chief Education Officers, Zonal Education Officers and school heads.
According to the notified SOPs, “The community classes should preferably be held for children not connected through online classes. These classes should invariably be held in open areas and grounds where students can sit at least two metres apart from each other,” read the guidelines.
“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.
It has been made mandatory for the teachers as well as students 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 said.
For the 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.
Access to community classes is to be restricted to only volunteer teachers and students. Students or staff members suffering from any kind of illness should be isolated without creating stigma.
Since March, schools in Jammu and Kashmir region have been closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Most of the schools in urban region are conducting online classes, however, the students in rural areas are facing the burnt due to the poor internet connectivity and unavailability of smartphones at large.