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COVID19: Bridging the Digital Divide



COVID19: Bridging the Digital Divide


The COVID19 has resulted in the closure of all educational institutions across the world. About 1.2 billion students are out of the classroom worldwide. Though nations are at varying stages of COVID19 contamination, there are currently more than 1.2 billion children worldwide in 186 countries affected by school disruptions due to the pandemic.

Education has drastically improved as a result, with the distinctive emergence of e-learning, whereby instruction is carried out online and on digital platforms.

Preparing NextGen Leaders

Universities have to play a significant role in training a professional global population as the gatekeepers of information and guardians of intellectual resources. To do so, an ecosystem oriented mentality will be needed, using online offerings to expand the scope and create collaborations with other universities and suppliers of content. In that respect, the much greater investment would be expected than 3% of total spending currently allocated to technology in the education sector. Much like industries, educational institutes will need digital solutions to solve the big problems in higher education.

Global-scale higher education

There is a need for expansion of universities beyond campus boundaries and inspire diverse learners on a global scale by harnessing new technology. It starts with stackable, online learning, which offers accessibility and affordability that facilitates access to educational curricula and encourages students to enrol in smaller pieces of learning before committing to broader degree programmes. Technology powered formats like mobile-friendly experiences meet the learner where they are, enabling more seamless transitions for those entering a new learning environment or picking up where they left off. At a more advanced level, embracing AI-powered adaptive learning will enable universities to personalize education for millions for more effective outcomes. Immediate and powerful results from online degree programmes have now been seen by colleges. Such programmes also have stackable learning, such as a short-range of online classes, and allow students to close particular skills gaps or add specific skills to reach and touch the career goals.

By embracing technology in its many forms, universities will be able to offer life-changing access to millions more globally. But that’s not the only prize. Through deeper engagements and local industry partnerships world-wide, top colleges will be able to create a virtuous cycle that advances research and collaborative thinking to tackle some of the most pressing challenges we face today.

Game Changer to bring new Educational Ecosystem

Working together to scale up access to higher education would require a global community. Through leveraging technologies to combine together and create a collaborative learning ecosystem, universities will be the hub of this movement, supplementing their own curriculum with top courses from other institutions. Educational institutions came together for first-of its kind collaboration to share access to online courses available from the institutions. Universities can also pool resources to launch a common credit or grading system, to create virtual collaborative learning spaces, or to combine insights from a larger network to shape the direction of programs.

COVID19 brought a sense and opportunity related to technology-driven collaboration that will surely help to mitigate workforce deficiencies in establishments around the world. In India, personnel deficiencies are blocking the effect of top institutions. Digitally fuelled biological systems could flawlessly associate substance specialists from the scholarly community or industry to convey custom learning programmes for students anywhere in the world. Universities would be able to leverage the best minds in the industry or open the doors to online faculty exchanges between institutions.

Turning industry-ready

Dearth and shortages of skill grow worldwide, institutions and enterprises have an opportunity to chart partnerships that equip learners with employable skills. Due to COVID19, industry and academia came together.

Educational institutions are being approached to serve more assorted students for an enormous scope. They need to make qualifications that grab the eye of businesses that are progressively centred around aptitudes over customised degrees. They have to create shorter pathways to new skills and alongside foundational knowledge, they have to offer the flexibility for learners to upskill throughout their careers since lifelong learning is the only way forward. Technology will be the link through this change, revolutionizing what we know as higher education.

Vision of Accessibility

Online educational instructions empower us to study and educate from anyplace on the planet. This implies there’s no compelling reason to drive starting with one spot then onto the next, or follow an inflexible timetable. What’s more, we save time, yet in addition cost-effective, which can be spent and used on different needs. The virtual digital room is additionally accessible anyplace there is a digital web network and a decent method to use while travelling. For example, if you’re studying abroad and want to get a job, online education is a great choice. There’s no reason to give up on working or studying while exploring new and exotic places.

Case Study

With the sudden outbreak of a deadly disease called COVID19 caused by a Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2) shook the entire world and drastically had an impact on the educational system across the globe.

The situation challenged the education system across the world and forced educators to shift to an online mode of teaching overnight. Many academic institutions that were earlier reluctant to change their traditional pedagogical approach had no option but to shift entirely to online teaching-learning.

Among the various Universities of Jammu and Kashmir UT, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-K) under the ambit of National Agricultural Higher Education Project funded by the World Bank and Indian Council Agricultural Research, New Delhi, has taken this challenge of pacing up the academic/student-driven activities/National and International collaborations and proven their capability and determination to live up to the expectation of New Educational Policy 2020.

SKUAST-K with having seven faculties (Agriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries, Forestry, Veterinary Sciences, Agricultural Engineering and Temperate Sericulture) utilizes the pandemic period as an opportunity and show their mettle by conducting more than 350 national/international online programmes for the student and faculty development. Fostering Leadership, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, collaborated with leading/Premier Institutes across the globe like Western Sydney University, Australia, Lemon School of Entrepreneurship Mumbai, Ross Michigan University, GIMI University, Israel, NIESBUD, CSB, Bangalore, Indigram Labs, IIT-K, IIT-Kharagpur, ICFA, IACG etc for various online programmes.

Under the ambit of IDP, SKUAST-K has made brand equity in Innovation and Entrepreneurship development by challenging and competing at national/international level of contest and marked their footprints by being the top winners. This University management and the team has proven that the real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the situation (Pandemic).


Being the gateway of information and stewards of human resources, colleges need to assume a significant function in setting up a global skilled labour force. Doing so will require an ecosystem-oriented mindset, using online offerings to extend reach and establish partnerships with other universities and content providers. Much like industries, universities will need digital solutions to solve for the big problems in higher education. By harnessing emerging technologies, universities can reach beyond campus walls to empower diverse learners at a global scale. It begins with embracing stackable, online learning, which provides flexibility furthermore, a reasonableness that builds admittance to college educational plans and permits understudies to take part in more modest lumps of learning prior to focusing on bigger degree programs. Innovation fueled configurations like versatile encounters meet the student where they are, empowering more consistent changes for those entering another learning climate or getting back on track. At a further developed level, grasping AI-controlled versatile learning will empower colleges to customize training.

Naveed Bhat is BDA  at Innovation & Entrepreneurship Cell, SKUAST-Kashmir. You can reach him at [email protected] 


Islamic Fraternity JK distributes masks at tourist resort Pahalgam



Islamic Fraternity distributes masks

Hikmat Yar

Pahalgam, July 6: Islamic Fraternity Jammu and Kashmir organised a free mask distribution campaign at Pahalgam tourist resort.

Masks were distributed among the people in order to create awareness regarding the COVID19 pandemic which isn’t over yet. The volunteers of IF, following proper SOPs, distributed masks and created a mass mobilization regarding SOPs to be followed.

The gradual ease in Covid restrictions and opening of tourist places has led to the huge rush of people towards these places. Pahalgam being the most famous health resort is witnessing an immense rush of tourists. Some members of the public have complained that most of the visitors are not following COVID appropriate behaviour and seen roaming around without masks, putting their own and fellow visitors life at danger.

“It is indeed wonderful to see some responsible citizens here doing a fabulous job of distributing masks and creating awareness among people regarding Coronavirus,” said A Rameshwar, a tourist from the southern state of Tamil Nadu. “It would be much better if people come forward like Islamic Fraternity and do something for the society.”

“Most of the people visiting here are careless, irresponsible and are acting if the Virus is over which otherwise is not the reality. This is indeed is problematic,” said Mohammad Amir Chairman of Islamic Fraternity JK. “We are witnessing the huge gathering of people in the parks without masks and of course not maintaining any physical distance. We are organizing this programme to make people aware of the repercussions if they go on doing this,” he added.

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Should doctors be saved or stoned



Should doctors be saved or stoned

Should doctors be saved or stoned

Aina Bhat

Naveed Hamid

“A doctor, like anyone else who has to deal with human beings, each of them unique, cannot be a scientist; he is either, like the surgeon, a craftsman, or, like the physician and the psychologist, an artist. This means that in order to be a good doctor a man must also have a good character, that is to say, whatever weaknesses and foibles he may have, he must love his fellow human beings in the concrete and desire their good before his own.” — W. H. Auden

Doctors are critical to a successful response to the COVID19 pandemic. They play critical roles in diagnosis, containment, and care, and their willingness to treat despite elevated personal risks is critical to the effectiveness of public health response. Frontline employees have been subjected to high work volumes, personal risk, and social pressure in order to meet extraordinary healthcare demands. Despite this, conventional public health ethics has paid little attention to protecting doctors’ rights.

Credibility of a medical practitioner in present era

The position of doctors during the COVID19 pandemic, with a focus on the Health Service, by answering the following four questions: what are the essence and scope of healthcare providers’ duties? To whom do these responsibilities apply? What are the employers’ and patients’ mutual responsibilities to doctors? What do doctors do if these mutual duties are not met? While these questions apply to all healthcare professionals, it is important to note that different healthcare professionals have different responsibilities, which can influence the degree of their occupational risks and duties.

Doctors and COVID19: Why we need to be a wise human first

Many physicians around the world have had personal encounters with COVID19 infection. Many doctors/medical practitioners have a terrifying experience with COVID19 in the year 2020, when all of their family members test positive and have a turbulent path. The majority was of the opinion that the dreadful tale of COVID19 should be hidden in order to protect their patients in tough times by wearing masks and taking antibiotics on their own, which then degraded their health and caused death to numerous medical practitioners.

Courage to work and treat under INFECTED Culture:

The response is easy and straightforward: “because they handle contaminated patients.” It is a self-evident truth, but it is only a partial explanation. It is widely accepted that when treating patients, doctors subconsciously train their minds to be emotionally distant from the disease, which aids them in making reasonable decisions. They have persuaded themselves that the patient in front of us has a disorder that will not affect us. And if it does, they will benefit more than our patients. Too much of this leads some doctors to believe they are invincible. Early in the pandemic, doctors who were unconcerned about PPE and other safeguards were the most vulnerable targets. Many senior practitioners, physicians, and family doctors, especially those in private practice, underestimated the infective potential. They were comparing this to the yearly influenza outbreak and figured they’d make it through just fine. Many doctors carried on with their clinics as usual, without PPE, without monitoring patient numbers, and without paying special attention to social distancing or sanitization. Family doctors were the most vulnerable and were exposed to infected patients. Family physicians and doctors employed in smaller practices were unable to support the increase in operating costs due to the high cost of PPE/masks/sanitization kits combined with lower earnings. Those who kept hospitals and clinics closed found that this could not continue indefinitely and opened the clinics to a flood of patients.

At the same time, in other parts of the world, a few patients filed consumer complaints alleging infections from clinics and hospitals. Some of us forgot that doctors are not superhumans and that they too can become infected in non-hospital settings where they are not wearing PPE. The doctor’s identity may have saved them from police intervention during the lockdown, but it did not protect them from infection.

This pandemic has once again shown that doctors are poor patients. Doctors have a tendency to ignore their own signs. None of them evaluates themselves critically in the same way as they would evaluate our patients. A common mistake is to blame non-specific symptoms on non-medical factors such as too much stress or a lack of sleep. Many doctors hesitate to test for COVID19 when they have trivial symptoms or suspected contact due to the fear of getting a positive report. The majority of those affected remained asymptomatic and recovered, but this also suggests that more people had the test only when the symptoms were unbearable. Typically doctors test only when they have a persistent high-grade fever or significant breathlessness.

The authors are associated with SKUAST-K


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Is lockdown an effective measure for combating COVID19 pandemic?



lockdown effective for combating COVID19

Aina Bhat

Naveed Hamid

Infectious diseases have periodically posed a threat to human societies. A pandemic is a worst-case scenario in the world of infectious diseases. The latest in the sequence of pandemics was caused by the coronavirus family. Coronaviruses are single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses with pleomorphic genomes. The “novel” coronavirus is a modern strain that has never been seen in humans. The name comes from the crown-like appearance created by the club-shaped projections that adorn the viral envelope. The first pandemic of the twenty-first century was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002, followed by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (SARS-CoV). The planet is now facing another pandemic known as Coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. On December 8, 2019, the first cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since there are no specific treatments or vaccines, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) at the individual and collective levels are the only acts capable of containing the epidemic and reducing its effects on population health.

In December 2019, cases of a disease similar to pneumonia started to appear in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The cases that emerged were caused by a previously unknown form of coronavirus. Since it emerged in 2019, this strain of the virus was dubbed Coronavirus 2019, or COVID-19. The Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China, is believed to be the source of this virus. It was later discovered that the virus, which is transmitted from animal to human, can also be transmitted from human to human.

Although the molecular mechanism of the COVID-19 transmission pathway from human to human is still unknown, the general theory of respiratory disease transmission is similar. Droplet spreading spreads respiratory diseases. In this sort of spread, a sick person exposes people around him to the microbe by coughing or sneezing. In other words, environmental conditions play a significant role in the spread of this virus.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading at a rapid pace with cases more than 16 crore worldwide and 2.33 crores in India. COVID19 restrictions are in place in almost every aspect of life. Following hygiene laws is the most basic step to reduce the spread of coronavirus or to avoid infection. The most critical of these is hand washing. As a result, the transmission of this virus is slower in communities where people wash their hands and follow general hygiene laws. Official organisations have a high degree of involvement in the “stay at home” call. Scientists warn that the COVID-19 virus will easily spread to any age group.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was registered by approximately 220 countries. Countries have implemented stringent measures such as school vacation, working from home, quarantine for areas with a large number of outbreaks, and, most notably, lockdown to slow the COVID 19 outbreak. The days of lockdown vary by country. Countries determined when the lockout began and ended based on the COVID-19 impact on their people. Since COVID-19 continues to have a strong impact on the public, several countries have prolonged the lockdown for several days. Countries are affected by the lockdown in both environmental and economic terms (Chakraborty and Maity, 2020). The lockdown has laid the groundwork for environmental regeneration, especially with the closure of factories and the reduction of both private and public transportation vehicles used. With the lockdown implemented during the pandemic process, COVID-19 improved air quality in many parts of the world. Economic operations have ceased to reduce carbon emissions as a result of the lockdown.

Lockdown as a most impactful initiative for spreading of Covid-19

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in December 2019, the lockdown has been described as the only successful global measure to halt the spread of this pandemic in the population. India enforced a full shutdown across the country as lockdown I on March 25, 2020, and then extended it by providing timely partial relaxations in the form of lockdown II, III, and IV.

COVID-19 cases and deaths are growing on a regular basis due to its ability to spread by sneezing, cough droplets, and touching. Since this virus enters the body via the mouth, nose, and eyes, it has resulted in a worldwide lockdown, quarantine, and certain restrictions. To prevent this pandemic, governments imposed a slew of social restrictions. The limitation of lockdown was at the forefront of these steps. According to statistics, the lockdown plays an important role in stopping COVID-19.

Lockdown Impact

Upon analysing numerous secondary data-based studies, the findings revealed that the lockdown was successful in lowering incidence and mortality rates in the majority of countries. As a result, it was used as a tactic to halt the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. The efficacy of lockdown increased gradually in scenarios that took into account time lags between intervention initiation and the onset of the effect, as predicted by the dynamics of the infection itself. Since the COVID-19 epidemic has an exponential growth pattern, the success of reducing incidence is influenced by the time of the epidemic when social distancing measures are put in place.

As per various studies, strict social distancing measures represent an effective way to slow the progression of COVID-19 epidemics. However, these measures have a great economic, psychological and social impact.

  1. Psychological effect

It has been shown that lockdown is linked to human psychology. Stress (8.0 percent) and depression (16.0–28.0 percent) were identified as psychological reactions during the COVID-19 pandemic. These psychological symptoms were observed in only a few of the affected countries and do not represent the experiences of people living in other parts of the world. As a result, it is apparent that having reported cases and mortality rates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has an effect on mental health issues.

  1. Environmental effects

Researches have been conducted to investigate the environmental impact of the Covid-19 lockdown. It has been observed that the world has begun to renew itself as a result of all types of manufacturing, vehicle movement, and people’s social activities remaining at a low level for a long time. Lockdown restrictions, in particular, have been shown to improve air and water quality.

  1. Economic effects

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has had a major economic effect in India. India’s growth rate in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020 fell to 3.1 percent (Ministry of Statistics). According to the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, this decline is primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the Indian economy. Notably, India had been experiencing a pre-pandemic slowdown, and the pandemic has “magnified pre-existing threats to India’s economic outlook,” according to the World Bank.

The World Bank and rating agencies initially revised India’s growth for FY2021 to the lowest levels seen in three decades, dating back to the 1990s when India’s economy was liberalised. CRISIL declared on May 26 that this could be India’s worst recession since independence. According to State Bank of India research, the GDP contracted by more than 40% in Q1. The Ministry of Statistics published GDP figures for Q1 (April to June) FY21 on September 1, 2020, showing a contraction of 24% compared to the same timeframe the previous year. Economic activity dropped from 82.9 on 22 March to 44.7 on 26 April, according to the Nomura India Business Resumption Index.


The Covid-19 pandemic outbreak has had a global effect, with significant economic implications. One of the repercussions has been the implementation of unprecedented lockdown and restriction policies in a number of countries. Travel restrictions and the need to stay in our residential homes to reduce the spread of the virus are expected to significantly alter anthropogenic pollutant emissions, both in terms of released mass and time variations. This has been observed since the start of the lockdown, specifically through the study of data from air quality monitoring networks and satellites.

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