Other States

Online courses help some cope with lockdown in J&K

From homemakers to unemployed youth to students pursuing professional courses in J&K, the ongoing lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic is about opting for add-on courses online and preparing for the tougher times ahead with the help of volunteer experts.

Also read: Tips on coping with lockdown anxiety

Farhana Sofi, a resident of Budgam who is pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), had to stop her fieldwork due to the ongoing lockdown. The restrictions on movement since the third week of March forced her to opt for a 10-day free crash course on entrepreneurial skills conducted by the J&K Skill Development Mission (J&KSDM) .

“I could not stand to see fodder in my fields and orchards going waste,” said Ms. Sofi, who is the younger of the two sisters at home. “I am passionate to have my own dairy farm. I opted for the course to hone my basic skills and start working on my dairy farm immediately,” she told The Hindu.

“The course is already infusing confidence in me to enter into an otherwise male bastion. I am sure to make it a success. I am aware that government jobs are not going to come easily now,” she added.

Muhammad Mutahir, who works with food delivery start-up Zomato, is a volunteer who is sharing his knowledge about entrepreneurial skills for free with the registered students.

Another student, Danish Bashir, 20, a resident of Handwara, is pursuing a B.Sc agriculture and has opted for a crash course on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) because his college classwork has come to a grinding halt on the Srinagar campus.

“I have a lot free time and wanted to utilise it,” said Mr. Bashir. “The GST course will scale up my employability. It will help me in the economics subject, which is a part of the course, also in the civil services examination. I also also learning web designing to add on another skill,” he added.

Manju Garg, a homemaker from Jammu with two children, said she decided to do something creative to break the routine and help her cope with the lockdown, which was weighing heavily on her mind. “I opted for a beautician’s course. Every day I take classes for one hour. It feels good,” Ms. Garg said.

More than 300 students, including professionals and ordinary citizens, have registered for online courses with J&KSDM, which is imparting skills for free with the help of volunteer experts.

The only downside, most participants said, was that because of the slow Internet speeds only the trainer was able to keep the video switched on during the sessions while the others had to rely on only audio being available.

Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary for the department of Education, Tourism and Technical Education, has ideated the programmes to upscale skills during the lockdown, “with people having enough idle time”.

“The response of people has been overwhelming,” said J&KSDM Director Peer Ghulam Nabi Suhail. “We even offer courses on fixing home appliances, so that people could handle gadgets locally. The goal is to offer a range of courses is to upscale skills and utilise the time offered by the lockdown. We may even allow many to register for longer courses in case they show interest,” he added.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 2:19:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/online-courses-help-some-cope-with-lockdown-in-jk/article31652099.ece

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