Second thought needed
After Covid-19 made its presence felt in India during March 2020 the entire country came to a standstill. Almost all the sectors that are even considered vital for the economy came to a grinding halt. This included closing down of all educational institutions as well which not only led to the loss of academic loss to the students but a huge loss of resources to educational institutions as well.
Though some states have now taken a bold step and announced phase wise opening of schools and colleges, but all this has come at a cost. In Haryans the number of covid cases witnessed a spike following the opening of schools and the institutions were closed again at several places following the development.
Similarly Delhi and other regions also went ahead and opened schools, though in phased manner but the situation is still scary with most of the parents still avoiding sending their wards to schools and other institutions.
In Jammu and Kashmir authorities have decided to open schools in Jammu division from February 11 and have ordered that schools in Kashmir division shall also open after the winter break is over. This decision seems wise enough owing to the academic loss the student’s community has undergone over the past one year.
However, the authorities here need to understand some ground realities as well. In Jammu and Kashmir most of the schools, both in private and government sector are operating from places which are inadequate as far as space is concerned. Most of the government schools in rural and even in urban areas are running short of space with fewer facilities of maintaining hygiene also missing in these institutions.
At some places there is no water supply provided to schools and this stands true for private as well as government schools across the length and breadth of the regions.
Amidst all these infrastructural loopholes announcing to open schools under various procedures to be put in place like social distancing, use of sanitisers, hand cleansers and soaps and other measures raises several questions.
We all know about the shabby classrooms, limited space and size of the classrooms in all schools, be it private or government run institutions. In such circumstances asking students to maintain a distance means that every class room can merely accommodate only 25 percent of the rolls at any given point of time.
If that is the situation then have the authorities provided the schools an operational plan as to how to go ahead with the resumption of class work. Or this has been left with the school administrations as to how shall they be operating under the new SOP’s that will be mandated once schools open up.
The situation about opening of schools is quite tricky and this needs massive plans and follow-ups. The government cannot act in isolation over this issue as this concerns our children and their well being. Education has to be a priority but not at the cost of one’s health.