Online education in rural areas


Though online education cannot be considered education in full especially in respect of the school level education , yet the compulsions of the corona virus pandemic have left little choice but to adopt the online mode to impart education to students lest they remain any far behind in studies or lose any academic year. Last year, when the same was started for the first time across the country following closing of schools to save students from falling sick , in Jammu and Kashmir too the switchover to this mode was introduced with good results as the programme steadily progressed even though the internet facilities were limited to only 2G system . It worked more or less satisfactorily even with the 2G version but more in cities than in rural areas, thus overall position remained far from satisfactory. Unfortunately, the scenario continues even now as majority of students in the rural , far flung and mountainous areas of Jammu and Kashmir are bereft of reaping the advantages of the online facility . While it would have sufficed the needs of the aspiring students in case they were in possession of laptops or tablets – the most used gadgets for the purpose , the position on the ground reveals most of them do not possess the same. Even Android phones would have done the needful even though because of the size of short screen etc of such mobile phones , their utility being limited as compared to desktop, laptop and tablets like electronic gadgets. Whatever the position, most of the households cannot afford anyone of the three due to economic constraints though the fact of the matter is that many households do have desktops and even laptops not to speak of Android phones but their number obviously is very meagre . We would suggest in such cases, either providing of these gadgets at subsidized rates to the parents of the students by the UT administration or arranging bank loans repayable in most easy instalments spread over five years or more which could have solved the problem of non availability or non affordability of the mobile gadgets, should be considered seriously by the Government . It could be done provided a serious thought was given to it. However, that precisely requires innovative and pragmatic initiative by the Government and if taken, the same would go a long way in resolution of the problem and teacher to student contact , on individual basis , important for imparting education , would further still better the results of online education. Our television channels , particularly Door Darshan Jammu and Srinagar stations run for limited hours only could be extended by two to three hours exclusively to impart education and guidance to the students which could equally serve the purpose . That mode too could have ensured better pupil to teacher contact , clearing doubts and explaining concepts and solving problems barring practical education related to laboratories . There could be no better productive programme on the TV channels than imparting education to students especially to the more deserving ones in our rural areas. All India Radio stations in twin capitals too could broadcast what the TV channels would do live thus in case someone missed the TV telecast due to any reason , mode of radio could come handy. Though not drawing any pessimist note, there was no immediate possibility of opening of schools and restarting usual school activities due to the raging pandemic while the studies of the students could not be afforded to be affected due to unavoidable closure of schools hence ways and means were required to be found to enhance the base of the online education . Preferred attention was required to be paid to the matter in a comprehensive manner so as to address various issues to make online education a success on a uniform base in Jammu and Kashmir