Jammu and Kashmir administration is taking steps to ensure that the academic session of this year does not suffer due to the nationwide lockdown.
With the coronavirus-driven lockdown bringing life to a standstill, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has said a mechanism has been put in place to ensure that the ongoing academic session in schools does not suffer any setbacks. “The students are being provided the necessary interventions and a mechanism is in place so that their academic session and education does not suffer,” K K Sharma, advisor to Lt Governor G C Murmu, said here.
Reviewing the initiatives being undertaken by the Directorate of School Education, Jammu (DSEJ) with regard to making available the academic content to the students through online, digital and other media on Monday, the advisor said they have through their initiatives provided the much-needed interventions to the students so that their academic session does not suffer.
“The UT of Jammu and Kashmir has been among the first in the country to come up with solutions in the education sector in view of the global pandemic,” he said, complimenting the Directorate of Edcation for meeting expectations of the general public during difficult times.
Review of online education in Jammu and Kashmir
Director of School Education, Jammu (DSEJ) Anuradha Gupta, who along with other senior officers participated in the review through video conferencing, said that immediately after the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 spread, the DSEJ set up online and offline platforms to cater to the specific needs of students especially in view of the fact that many students in government schools belong to the most deprived sections of society.
“The initiatives include DSEJ’s home classes which started on March 27 by creating a window, providing high quality, curriculum-based interactive e-content in all subjects, covering in the first phase classes from 6th to 12th as per the academic calendar already devised by DSEJ,” she said.
Similarly, she said links to all key digital resources provided by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) are also being provided on various websites for the convenience of students, besides circulation of content on the official website, Telegram channels, WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms. The broadcast and telecast of lectures on complimentary basis is also being done through FM radio and private news channels.
Strategies are being evolved in consultation with the district administration to provide printed notes and handouts to the students who do not have smart phones and cable network, Gupta said.
She said textbooks are being distributed in 66 educational zones of Jammu in the summer zone and that textbooks in the winter zone have already been distributed.
Fun-based activities as assignments are being given on different subjects in four age groups — pre primary, classes 1st to 5th, classes 6th to 8th and classes 9th to 12th, she added.
“The focus is on health, physical and mental fitness and basic arithmetic and language skills. Also encouraging children to know about local history, culture and language through parents during free time,” she said.
Students without internet being connected through phone calls
For those who do not have access to the internet, the director said teachers are being asked to tell students on the phone to prepare themselves for simple contests that would be held after schools reopen.
The Advisor was informed that DSEJ is among the first directorates in the country to have started providing counselling to students suffering from anxiety and stress through the already established counselling helpline ‘Aao Baat Karein’.
Trained counsellors and clinical psychologists are available to provide services to parents and students, an official spokesman said, adding that queries related to stress, anxiety, academics, e-resources results and various other related issues that emerged due to COVID-19 are also being handled by the experts.
He said the Advisor was also informed that DSEJ has come up with a novel idea of academic mentoring for students who are not able to access e-content or online classes or have doubts regarding some concepts.
“The tele-counselling helpline ‘Aao Baat Karein’ will connect such students to subject experts who can clear their doubts and also guide them further,” the spokesperson said.
The directorate is also supervising and coordinating the distribution of two months’ dry ration to eligible students at their houses as per instructions of the government in the light of Supreme Court directions.
Despite severe constraints, 92 percent of the students out of total of 4,86,257 have been covered till date, the spokesperson said.