Trust science, open schools, as trust and optimism go hand in hand

Srinagar February 02:(KNS) In last two and half years, I have seen few school buses in front of the NIT gate, most of them were empty for one reason or other. Keeping Iqbal’s Shaheen indoors for such a long time shall affect their mental and physical health, much worse than the present infectious disease, which is our common sorrow and common pain. Fortunately, it is declining asymptotically across the globe and it is reasonable to allow students to be physically present in schools and colleges. Hopefully, situation shall be much better within few weeks and we should take advantages of good days. 


Teaching and learning is an incredible asset and it should never stop, whatever may be the situation. It should change shapes and styles in exigencies, as it did. No doubt, the online learning has changed life & made things easier for everyone including students, staff and faculty across the globe, but the off-line interaction has no comparison (not at all). 


Optimistic administration should come up with a suitable mechanism of odd/even classes (50% capacity) and should open the doors for students in schools, colleges and universities. School spaces are fundamental not only for academic instruction but also for children’s social, emotional, mental and physical health. Thus, the heads of the government and private institutions should make adequate arrangements before allowing academic activities in coming academic session. More so, at times we need to be optimistic and in times of uncertainty, prudence is warranted. Optimists see opportunities in every difficulty and in every situation. Science shows that those with an optimistic outlook have better health and a stronger immune system and have more successful life. 


There is no question in my mind, that we have the scientific and technical competence to create a world that sustains human life for you, your children and their children’s children and can provide a meaningful and fulfilling life for each human being, even in emergencies. Science made good bye to fatal disease, brought us closer together through travel and modern communications technologies and helped us better understand and respond to any challenge. Science has given confidence to even underdeveloped countries to deal with any exigencies including the present pandemic and allowed academic activities. Vaccination shall go side by side and science stands by you always even in turbulent times. 


 In J&K, long-term sustainable funding is needed to support students in providing internet access and laptops for all students; this should remain a priority after the pandemic. The digital divide is a critical component to be addressed in schools even as children return to in-person learning as they navigate the increasing digital learning environment, academic recovery and extended home learning materials. We know that it can be difficult to stay motivated, but that doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about our future. Having positive mindset is scientifically proven to be beneficial and see silver linings in challenging situations.  


(Prof Shah M A is Chair, department of Physics, NIT Srinagar.) 

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