Being the parent of a specially-abled son Mohammad Numaan, who was born with a lack of hearing capacity in both ears, I have learnt a lot in our journey together. I am always trying to give him new lessons about learning, teaching, understanding skills and a good interaction with all other specially-abled children so that he does not feel deprived and different from the other “normal” people.
Numaan is currently studying in UKG standard of Legends School of Education, Kanitar Srinagar. During the chilly cold of this winter, he joined other physically challenged children on International Day of Persons with Disabilities commemorated on December 3, 2021. The event took place at Girls Higher Secondary School Kothi Bagh, Srinagar and was organized by J&K School Education Department under Samagra Shiksha Mission.
Manzoor Ahmad, Chief Education Officer, Srinagar who was the chief guest delivered his speech in Kashmiri and advised all his subordinates to follow the same so that everyone, including the specially-abled students could understand the conversations. A lot of participants around Srinagar city came to join the event and performed a number of activities. The starting was done with the recitation of Holy Quran followed by Naats by the children. All the efforts that the parents had put in their specially-abled children paid off while they children smiled and performed in front of the spectators. The huge rounds of applause added to the grace of the occasion and the confidence of little ones.
Performances was done by specially-abled children with Quran Tilawat by Syed Muawiya Rehman, Ziya Aijaz, Sufiya Rehman, Naat by Nadeem Ahmad, Burhan, Immad, Painting by Fiza, Bareera, Bareen Khan, Ateeb, Mohammad Numaan.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. The observance of the day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
The theme of the day is 'Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world' giving a platform to every handicap child to perform the abilities to show them that they are not lagging behind as compared to normal children in every path of life.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in December 2019 and its fast spread in almost every part of the globe, the world has been caught up in a situation never experienced before in the recent past. With the announcement of lockdown across the globe, the colorful life came to a halt. Every sector got badly affected. Even the economically sound and developed nations couldn’t bear the damage caused by the invisible enemy of humanity. Poor people found it very hard to earn from hand to mouth. Patients couldn’t reach hospitals due to the disappearance of traffic on roads.
The Economies of almost all the countries turned sluggish. However the most affected sector is the education sector because educational institutions were shut in view of the chances of Covid-19 spread among the children.
Government machinery as well as the teaching community of the Valley like in other parts of the globe, geared up themselves to come up with some sort of an alternative to compensate for the academic loss of students. So teaching through the internet via various modes was initiated. Soon the government made it mandatory for every teaching official to download the Zoom app and restore teaching through it.
The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
On a daily basis the educational institutions conducted online classes through Zoom app, Google classrooms etc with the intention to minimize the academic loss of students. Every institution instantly framed the timetable of teaching officials and they were directed to conduct the online classes according to the framed schedule.
Online teaching classes for all under and postgraduate students in the Kashmir valley has become a daily requirement for all the students for the learning skills of day by day and becomes a successful tool for both teachers and students in the present situation due to Covid-19 and all the teaching practice going through Zoom and Google classes. The specially-abled children are always trying to achieve new things like my son is doing to get through online classes but at home he always performs what he is understanding.
Management of Legends School of Education and JK School Education department framed a 50 percent syllabus cut for my son and the same was communicated to school for adopting it fully but this time he takes only Google and zoom classes as physical classes gives more education, discipline, manner etc. to every student of the school to every student.
Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.
During the event he tried to accelerate his skills on painting, giving colours to the flower tree and successfully completed it in the sunny cold ground. He feels more energetic and enthusiastic during the event as he tries every skillful activity with the help of other teachers. Since the last three years, every aspect of education has been disturbed and education of children with disabilities came to a standstill. Even the speech therapies of my son got disturbed as complete shutdown occurred so many times.
Showkat Wani, the district coordinator of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan of JK School education department putting all efforts to do more for the well being of the education of every type of student in every government primary as well as private school for their better future.
Now if the SOPs of Covid -19 guidelines are completely followed in all the schools, the JK Education Department could do more for such students so that a proper mechanism will be placed in the system. It could help in round the clock tracking and monitoring of development of all children and can show brilliant results, meaningful for the challenging life ahead.
Mohammad Hanief is the parent of a specially-abled child.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.