In a viral video, a five-year-old girl named Mahiruf Irfan can be seen making an appeal to ‘Modi saab‘ to reduce the number of online classes she and other kids of her age have to attend. “Why do ma’am and sir give so much work to little children?” she says in the video. “From the time I wake up till 2 o’clock, I have continuous classes — English, math, Urdu, EVS and then computers. This much work is for students in classes sixth, and tenth, the big classes. Why us?”
The video has been doing rounds in several social media platforms, and has reached the Jammu & Kashmir administration. On June 1, they decided that the duration of online classes for students from Classes 1 to 8 would not be more than 90 minutes, and they would have to be conducted in two sessions. For Classes 9 to 12, too, the duration would be limited to only three hours per day.
On May 31, the lieutenant governor of the union territory had responded to the five year old’s appeal saying that he has directed the education department to take urgent steps.
Very adorable complaint. Have directed the school education department to come out with a policy within 48 hours to lighten burden of homework on school kids. Childhood innocence is gift of God and their days should be lively, full of joy and bliss. https://t.co/8H6rWEGlDa
— Office of LG J&K (@OfficeOfLGJandK) May 31, 2021
The next day, Sinha announced the administration’s new decision, “Pre-primary on a given day for interacting with parents shall be only 30 minutes. Concerned authorities to ensure the strict implementation. Homework up to Class 5 should be avoided. Authorities and schools to plan joyful learning experiences engaging parents as well. Our children need more time to play, interact with parents, the biggest learning experience a child can have.”
According to the Indian Express, Irfan’s mother had initially posted the video as her WhatsApp status, which then got got circulated on other platforms. Irfan had recorded the video on her mother’s phone on Sunday when no one was around and she initially intended to send the video to her maternal grandparents only.
Online classes, as many have complained, have severely affected students’ mental health. Many such complaints, as made by Irfan in the video, have been pouring in different forms from various parts of the country since the lockdown was announced, especially from areas where internet access is still limited. In J&K, 4G internet services were only restored in February this year, after it was banned two years ago, soon after the revocation of Article 370.
Featured image credit: Twitter/Editing: LiveWire