GCC expresses concern over continued closure of schools

The Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) on Sunday expressed concern over the continuous closure of educational institutions in J&K.

In a statement, the GCC said the closure of educational institutions, particularly schools from July 14 last year to September1 has resulted into a “serious learning crisis.”

“What worries us the most is the huge learning losses children have suffered as evidenced through an informal assessment of academic achievement of young children,” said the statement. “The extended school closure has badly impacted the process of learning so much so that children have forgotten the essentials of learning like reading, writing and numeracy. The learning losses occurred is difficult to make up.” The Group said they understand the closure of schools since March 14 was necessitated to save children from COVID19.

“Though digital or online education was no alternative to classroom teaching and learning, it has evolved as a pragmatic and viable media of teaching during the pandemic. Unfortunately, our children don’t have access to digital and online education, in an effective manner, due to very poor and irregular internet connectivity. The 2G mobile internet service is not of much use in digital education,” the statement said. “It is suggested that 4G services may be restored at the earliest.”

The statement said the Group noted with a “degree of satisfaction” inclusion of Kashmiri language in Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR), a project of Unicode consortium, for preparation of required data, but “deeply regrets” use of Devanagri script instead of Persian script in the preparation and validation of the data.

The Group has noted with caution the recent approval to the Bill to include Urdu, Kashmiri, Dogri, Hindi and English as official languages of Jammu and Kashmir. “The Group strongly feels that the move aimed at assuaging the sensibilities of diverse denominations is impracticable and wonders how it is going to work on the ground. Shall official correspondence have to be in five languages and how far it is practicable?” said the statement. The signatories to the statement include Wahid Qureshi, Hashmatullah Khan, Prof Muhammad Aslam, Prof Nusrat Andrabi, Prof AS Bhat, Bashir Aahmad Dar, Rafi Ahmad, Anuradha Bhasin, Ajazul Haque, Masood Shah, GD Bakshi, Krishi Pandit, Abdul Majid Butt, Riyaz Jan, GH Kango, Rafeeq A Masoodi, GJ Nehvi, GR Sufi, and M S Pandit.