Students travelling long distances in pandemic to attend online classes
Srinagar: When financial conditions of the family of 17-year-old Adnan Farooq, class 11th student worsened after his father was diagnosed with a tumour, he decided to make changes.
Adnan registered for an online course for class 11th on the online learning platform, Unacademy because he could not afford the fee for offline tuitions in Kashmir.
However, Adnan did not know that his online classes will be hampered due to the frequent Internet shutdowns in south Kashmir.
After Abrogation of Article 370, the 2G services were restored in January 2020, however, 4G Internet continued to be banned in Kashmir except for the two districts Ganderbal and Udhampur where 4G was restored on August 16.
“I have a desire to study medical but after spending huge amounts of money on the treatment of my father, my family could not afford my tuition fee. I decided to register on an online platform to take a course in 11th medical. It cost me around Rs. 3000. I was hopeful that I will take classes regularly but in south Kashmir, the internet is frequently stopped due to which I miss my online classes,” said Adnan, who resides in Rehmo village of Pulwama.
District Development Council election started in the last week of November and since then the Internet has been snapped in the south Kashmir on every alternate day.
A resident says mobile internet snapped in Pulwama a while back. This is 9th time in last 18 days that internet is taken down, coinciding with DDC polls and an encounter on 9th Dec in Tikken. E-restrictions on Nov 28, Dec 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 13 & 15. Online classes go for a toss?
— Mufti Islah (@islahmufti) December 15, 2020
Another student, Nasir Hamid who is pursuing post graduation in geography from Kashmir University said that he is not able to attend his online classes since last one month.
“Internet is a distant dream for students of south Kashmir. Internet was already shut down every time a military operation starts here, but for the last one month, we have suffered a lot. I along with other students travel 5 km from my village to access the internet in this bone-chilling cold. Pursuing an education in Kashmir is very much difficult,” he added.
Apart from students, journalists and businessmen also have suffered during the last one month.
“I had to apply for a fellowship program but due to the internet shutdown, I could not apply it here. I had travelled to Srinagar from Pulwama to access the internet. Our life has become depressed due to this situation,” said a freelance journalist wishing anonymity.
Divisional Commissioner, Pandurang Pole did not respond to journalistic requests and messages from Free Press Kashmir.