As COVID-19 pandemic worsened in the country, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) reduced the syllabus for 9th to 12th standards by 30 per cent for the academic year 2020-21 in a bid to lessen the load of students. After this, several state boards followed suit, however, the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE) is yet to decide anything.
In Kashmir, education has taken a hit for the last year since the government revoked the erstwhile state’s special status and clamped down in August 2019. Millions of students had barely sprung out of clampdown when COVID-19 lockdown hit.
Farkhana Khan, a 12th standard student in a private school in Srinagar, claims that her syllabus is incomplete and she had barely attended classes in the past one year. The student of commerce further says, “The JKBOSE should consider reducing our syllabus.”
Veena Pandita, who chairs JKBOSE, said that the administration is “already working on it” and shall come ahead with a plan in ten to fifteen days. “I had advised the director of education [Kashmir] for not reducing the syllabus but rationalizing it,” she told The Kashmir Walla. “We are working on this but the process is delayed due to COVID-19.”
As the pandemic swept the globe, education moved online; however, in Kashmir, it has become difficult for students to attend regular online classes because of the restricted internet speed. “Online classes aren’t really helping because of the 2G internet speed,” says Ms. Khan. “It sometimes takes a toll on my mental health.”
Now that students are forced to attend classes online due to the pandemic, it has been difficult for them to comprehend the topics most of the time. “Online classes don’t help. It’s hard to understand what we are being taught most of the time,” said Arham Bhat, a class 10th student.
However, G N Var, President of Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) said “reducing syllabus is not a wise academic decision.” “It will cause problems for the students in the future,” he told The Kashmir Walla. “They should have either delayed the examinations or evaluated students on the basis of what the students acquired but there shouldn’t have been this compromise on their careers.”
Additional reporting by Gafira Qadir and Yashraj Sharma.