Let me begin with the famous Quote of Malcolm X ‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it day’. Education is the main tool of developing human capabilities and potentialities. It always plays significant role in shaping the destiny of a state and its future generations. It is one of the human and fundamental rights listed in constitution of every nation. Education must be guaranteed and protected for all the people in all the situations, at all times. It is a right in itself. It permits the full development, growth, improvement and prosperity of all humans – aims that are especially pertinent in emergency situations. However, in emergencies, nations often encounter difficulties and face challenges in guaranteeing and protecting human rights. Emergencies can disrupt education for months together or even years implying children can miss out on vital learning and get deprived of a safer place to be when they are in very traumatic situations like the one we are facing at present. Whenever and wherever such situation arise, education becomes the first casualty. Being a citizen of Kashmir we often experience emergency situations and at the same time we find education becoming a casualty. We know education is the main weapon to fight social, economic and moral crisis, then how can we ignore it and not pay our attention towards the educational system. It is high time to ponder and contemplate how we can continue education of our wards during these critical situations. We cannot turn our gaze in such situations while at the same time claiming of running our education system at par with the world.
Today we are facing Corona Virus. All educational institutions are closed for precautionary reasons. Does that mean we stop to read, write and learn; if a student cannot go to school for education, let us bring education to his home. We are living in 21st century, so nothing is impossible. Yes, I know it is a little difficult for us to bring education home but not impossible, actually we are not habitual of learning through other means, but now it is the right time to change our mode of education, why?, well we all know why.
In such times we should give preference to alternative mode of education that is home schooling. Keeping in view the current situation we must prefer home schooling means/mode of education where our elder ones (Parents, Grandparents, Uncles, Siblings etc.) shall play the role of teachers. Besides this, we must also think of others means for our children in order to educate them. We know we are in digital era and technology is playing vital role in education. Whether it is internet or Information and Computer Technology (ICT) related things, education has touched new heights. ICT has brought a paradigm shift in education. In education everything is linked with ICTs, be it directly or indirectly. Nowadays we use ICTs as an alternative for education particularly when formal and face to face interactions are not possible.
Today situation has arisen when teacher and pupil are not in schools for formal schooling due to the horrible Corona virus (declared pandemic by WHO). Now it is the right time to come on digital education platform. It is the proper time to bring and utilize ICTs in the field of education. By ICTs we provide education to our future generation in effective and meaningful ways. E- Learning, online learning and E-tutorials should be provided to pupil. It is the time to use social network for positive things. It is the time to use whatsapp groups to share E- materials and E- modules. It is the time to use Facebook to share important links for the education purposes and discuss the same. It is the time to use YouTube for educational purposes. It is the time to use internet in meaningful, useful and effective ways, but all this needs high speed internet which is unfortunately unavailable to us in current times. Govt. should start Gyan Vani and Gyan Dharshan like programmes to support students as earliest as possible. Besides, there are other things which teachers should keep in mind that is they should provide home assignments to their students so that they can learn and work in a proper direction. Elders at home should teach, guide and help their wards at home so that they may not suffer in learning.
To conclude, I hereby suggest to utilize the facilities when there is no disturbance, when you are directed to stay at home, when you are safe at home and when no one can come to disturb you but the condition is you must be willing to learn.
Let us pray to Almighty Allah to prevent entire humanity from this deadly viruses.
Mehraj ud Din Bhat is a Research Scholar, Department of Education, University of Kashmir