Schools across India are struggling to teach online as the pandemic forces them to stay shut. But this town in Indian-administered Kashmir has found a novel solution, reports Abid Bhatt.
Every morning, students in Doodpathri, a town in Budgam district, walk past streams and bridges, and up the hill to their new classroom: a picturesque spot with the snow-capped Himalayas as a backdrop.
The outdoor school is a breather for both parents and children after months of a grinding lockdown to slow down Covid-19 infections. The state has reported more than 19,000 cases and some 365 deaths.
“It’s far better that our kids attend such schools than grow weary in homes where they often end up frustrating themselves,” says Mushtaq Ahmad, whose son is attending the open air school.
Officials should collaborate with locals to set up more such schools, he adds.
Despite Kashmir’s troubled relationship with India – and the spectre of violence that haunts the valley – it has long been a popular tourist destination for its idyllic beauty.