Srinagar teacher starts open-air classes amid corona pandemic

A teacher from the summer capital Srinagar has started open-air classes to help students cover syllabus and save them from further academic losses.

Muneer Alam, a mathematics teacher from Malabagh area here has started delivering lectures in an open ground here.

The teacher said amid the lockdown in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, he found that students were on the receiving end and low slow-speed internet was not helping them either to take the online classes.

“I realized that since the August lockdown followed now by COVID lockdown the students have had barely two weeks of classes. This thought disturbed me and I resolved to do something for these students,” said Alam.

Earlier, Alam said he started taken classes at his home and around six to seven students would take tuitions while ensuring social distancing.

But when the number of students increased, Alam found that social distancing was not possible.

So, he decided to start open air class in Eidgah, adjacent to Aali Masjid.

“It helped students to follow all the precautions without compromising on education. We have a person with health issues back home so it was better to move out,” said Alam

With a teaching experience of over two decades, Alam said over the past several years he has kept the classes going each time the valley would found itself in turmoil.

“But this COVID is a different thing altogether,” Alam said. We have to take all precautions and follow all health guidelines to ensure that students are safe.”

He said online classes in Kashmir were impossible owing to the slow-speed or 2G internet.

“I thought the open air class is the best way and I made sure that my students are also taught about all the COVID protocols before attending class,” Alam said.

The young teacher said he does not charge any fee from new students, “I have told all my new students not to worry about fee. They can pay whenever the situation is perfect. This is the time when we should stand by each other selflessly,” he said.

The students are equally happy about the initiative taken by Alam.

Atif  Rouf, a student said the open air classes started by Alam were far better compared to e-classes on throttled internet.

“Earlier, we used to take online classes but you can understand how hectic it can be on the low speed internet. There was also no scope to clear our doubts, but now we are able to comprehend the topics in a better way. This initiative also helps us to clear doubts regarding different topics since we are face-to-face with our teacher,” said Rouf.

Another student said Kashmiri students have been locked at homes since August last year.

“This lockdown affected our mental health. Most students were unable to concentrate on studies at home but thankfully now we are having a better experience,” he said.