In December 2019 a pandemic took control of the whole world, becoming one of the greatest challenges for nations worldwide.  Drastic environmental changes took place including the major economic downfall, the over burdened health care system and education system, and everything gets affected by this pandemic.

In Pakistan, when the initial cases were reported in the end of February that was highly crucial time for the government because we do not have sufficiently advanced health care system.  Considering the risk of transmission of the disease, a rapid decision was made by the government to lock the institutions down whether schools or universities because human life is above all. But, it is hard to predict when the   pandemic will end. It is almost four months and students are completely home bound with no further learning plans.

After more than 90 days, government has failed to provide any proper educational plan to the students and their concerned parents. As a temporary substitution, they have started online schooling which failed to provide desirable results. The only wise decision was to promote all the students, which was a relief for them. But after the promotion the school administration has over burdened the students with provided new courses, outlines and a bundle of assigned tasks with schedule of online learning strategy.

We all have to understand that the internet accessibility is a major issue due to overloaded servers during lock down as the population is working from home.  We also should admit that half of the people cannot afford these digital accessories. Not every child has his separate cell phone or iPad or any other facility to take online class. Most of the schools have no virtual facilities of learning, only few renowned education institutions can afford this system or they already have multimedia or other digital systems. What are we doing with these fresh minds that are under 15 years old?

Education is the basic right for every student not only for those who have internet access and facilities. We don’t even have trained teachers to guide students because they also have no idea about online teaching. There is a vast difference between face to face and in class learning Moreover, we cannot ignore the widening teacher student relationship gap.  Our education ministries have to think and find the best possible way fill the void that has been created.  The government should make SOP to keep a keen observation of online schooling and search for alternatives for under privileged schools.  Before imposing the new ways of learning and teaching arrange proper training awareness sessions.

After that, one of the most important areas of our education is universities.  University students are the most neglected ones in this current situation as they don’t get any guidelines for their professional studies. They are forced to continuously pay huge amount of fees despite of not continuing their academics that adds to their stress and burden. Without any training, only on government orders, teachers have started online classes which are not only problematic for students and teachers but also their families because of the disturbance everyone is facing during lectures. Students of every profession is in trouble of not having proper internet facility, speed issues  and a lot of assignments students have no understanding of.

Online education is only giving a hard time to our respected teachers and students. We are not prepared for this new system. As we have seen that the government has opened markets, banks, industries and other businesses with SOPs, some serious decisions should be taken for university students as they are suffering a lot during this whole time

Hadia Naz