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In the absence of resources especially a fast internet connection, the government is denying students in Jammu and Kashmir, the scope to excel

Sobiya Sabit and Jyotsna Bharti

IN KASHMIR, a slow internet connection has been seen as a blessing and as a cruel joke as well. Memories of absolute communication clampdown has made many appreciate the unappreciable. This is also because in the awareness of the magnitude of loss suffered by Kashmiris, even little respite is welcomed. This has been particularly true in the context of the education sector.

Students in Kashmir are relying on a poor internet connection to keep up with course work. The semblance of availability often obscures the ill effects of an education marred by the absence of resources. This is why no one has quantified or comprehended the sheer impact of the loss that students have suffered here.

In a competitive world which does not spare the slackers; Kashmiri students are running the race on a 2g internet connection. They’re being forced to feel thankful for having the privilege of being allowed to attend school lectures. However, a 2g connection is only going to curtail a student’s academic growth to that one lecture when the video doesn’t buffer.

On contrary, students around the world and including India have had a different experience. The availability of a fast internet connection has made unending learning avenues available for students all over. However, these learning resources and extra aids do not come easy to Kashmiri students, who have to make do with a slow connection.

Testimonies from students outside Jammu and Kashmir are enough of a proof of the difference between the learning curve of students outside and students within J&K.

Online courses are often long and are not downloadable. Most lectures have study materials and assignment worksheets as PDFs which are very hard to download on a low speed internet connection. For students with a steady internet connection, revisiting lectures has been a blessing. However, Kashmiri students do not even have the pleasure of this revisiting.

For people who can inculcate some discipline, online education is a fortune. They will make the most out of it. Many ambitious students are getting the time to enroll in skill based courses online and can even attend advanced classes of different universities. On the other hand, for Kashmiri students, even the attempt to surf for these courses is going to be a herculean task.

Additionally, considering job wars, it has become particularly important to upgrade ones skills and better ones profile. Here too Kashmiri students are suffering. Not only is there a dearth of jobs, there are also limitations in the path to make oneself employable.

Fortunately, the plight of Kashmir students has not gone totally unnoticed. Ryan Jena a Journalism student from Bengaluru shared her views thus:

“A world without the internet is like a world without meaning. I say this because of the progressively rushing world around me. I’ve had the privileges to access the internet anytime I’d want. As an institution, our college would provide an adequate amount of internet to us, students, and also personally I have the liberty to access the internet for my projects and my personal browsing purposes. I’ve been taking up workshops online, ever since the lockdown has commenced. This time has given us all enough time to retrospect and I’ve been working on myself; as a budding writer, photographer and a self-taught musician. The internet has definitely been helpful during this lockdown and much before that too. My heart goes out for those who don’t have these privileges, which I think is every individual’s right”.

Extra-curricular activities are also a far cry for students in Kashmir. While students outside Kashmir have started taking online classes to pursue art and music, it is bound to seem like an arduous task for kids in Kashmir, who are already burdened by a slouchy internet connection.

Therefore, Kashmir students have suffered much more than students from other states. It is a pity that they will have to enter competition on the same footing as their counterparts in other cities while they have been denied opportunities available to others.

  • The author can be reached at jyotsnab011@gmail.com

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