‘No 4G in J&K, We Study on WhatsApp as Others Take Online Classes’

Limited options put into question an educational future in Kashmir.

My Report
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While students across India are taking online classes amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the demand for restoration of 4G internet grows for several students who are now forced to take classes on WhatsApp.

“Nearly 2,200 schools are unable to hold classes and the future of 27 lakh students is at stake,” a plea filed in SC reads. The Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration has till Sunday, 26 April to file a reply on these petitions.

The central government says it cannot ‘overlook militancy’ and ‘questions of natural security’ but what about the future of J&K’s students who have already been suffering since August 2019 due to the communication blockade?


(Click here for live updates on COVID-19. Also visit Quint Fit for comprehensive coverage on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.)

Limited options put into question an educational future in Kashmir.

“Denying us our right of having a 4G internet connectivity in this 21st century is no solution to the militancy problem in Kashmir. Students outside Kashmir are using 4G internet speed and availing online classes so easily. Kashmiri students still feel so neglected and still suffer so much. We request everyday for 4G speed. It is affecting my goals, my future, my ability to think that I can do something in Kashmir.”
Uzma, Journalism Student

For students who study in different cities and are back home in Kashmir because of the lockdown, the situation is much worse.

“I study in Hyderabad. My college is closed and they are taking classes online through various apps like Zoom and Google Classroom. It’s very difficult to connect to the classes on 2G network connection. Even if I connect to the classes it’s going to be of no good use because we are not able to see or hear anything properly.”
Rashid Masood

Let alone attending these classes, students are not able to download these apps as the maximum speed is 260 or 270 kbps.

“We are not able to understand what the teacher teaches us because of the weak connection and the poor quality of the video and the video buffers.”
Shehriyar Khan, Class 10 Student

With no other option, WhatsApp classes are becoming normal, but these too are not without their problems. Add to that the fact that some don’t have smartphones.

“Even on WhatsApp, we are facing difficulties because it takes a lot of time to download simple 2-3 minute audio clips. One of my teachers started writing the answer for our queries and when he wrote about it for half an hour, the last text he wrote was that ‘my thumbs are aching like anything’.”

Jammu and Kashmir’s students have already lost 6 to 7 academic months due to the internet ban that had started in August 2019. The chances to learn are already low.

“The government should take necessary steps in restoring the 4G network so that the youth of Kashmir don’t face any problems in pursuing their education. They should keep all political reasons aside.”
Rashid Masood  

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Topics:  India   Supreme Court   Internet 

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