Online classes dilemma in Pakistan

Coronavirus was reportedly observed in February 2020, in Pakistan and by March, number of cases were registered across the country. As the situation was experienced completely unkind therefore first Sindh then Federal Government took decision – on the directions of Higher Education Commission – to close the institutes in order to control the world-wide syndrome. After closing of institutes in March 2020, Pakistan has been, continuously, facing education losses at very large scale which has been never seen before. In recent days Higher Education Commission initiated Technology-Based Learning that has emerged double-trouble situation in all over the country. To some international intellectuals, it is not easy for developing countries to bring sudden change in education system as there is no completely ease of access in far-flung regions.
Online education is first time practiced in Pakistan and it is merely expected that it can minimize certain education losses in the country. Actually, students are depressed due to this digital divide in our country because our country is polarized on urban and rural areas. In many areas there is no internet facility and it would be challenging for students, belonging to countryside areas, to expand their knowledge from online lectures. Number of students shown displeasure on announcement of digital classes because they are deprived of internet connectivity. It seems like universities have taken huge fees and they just try to complete credit hours but it is matter of the concern for those students who have initiated top-ten trend on twitter writing #WeRejectOnlineEducation.
Online classes system is nothing but release of burden on students. Technology based education is, no doubt, progressive part of learning but it is slow and gradual process, it takes time to be fully developed. This culture of online classes is suddenly came into practice and it will surely result in less than minimum expectations because candidates are not mentally prepared for that, secondly in remote areas there is no facility of networking signals. Even majority of teachers will face it difficult too – as it is first experience in their career.
Taking of online classes is expected to be very problematic because it needs to know Operating System in order to organize files and installing software, by adopting online method of learning students must be aware from Word Process skills to maintain handouts and notes. Power point presentation is also need of the online classes. Moreover students are required to know chats, e-groups, discussion boards and emails. All these technological measures will surely leave a question mark for students of social sciences. For all this process time and money will matter, equipment, software, phones may be costly and unavailable for majority of students. It is fine that government took extreme measures, to be safe from education losses, in extreme situation of this pandemic disease; conversely, it even got extreme responses from candidates of all the provinces.
Digital education is, no doubt, part of learning and good method of getting knowledge but it requires time management and self-discipline. Learning is all about communication with teacher, in online lectures limited interaction with tutor is expected there would be less participation from students. This type of education needs proper training programmes and all-round know how. This responsibility cannot be handled by routine class-room representatives. Keeping in mind, saying of an intellectual that “Education is not knowing of facts but training of mind to think”. It is estimated that there would be less participation of students they will get information, stuff and material just to be shifted in next standard. Low quality education will be delivered and future performances of candidates would be infinitesimal.
Protests are being recorded in social media and even on roads against this controversy, students demand for semester break, protestors have termed the online classes as discrimination for those who belong to rural areas. In our education system there is primary, higher secondary, college and university. Basic level candidates are simply promoted however in universities it is not simple to deliver lectures related to certain technical department like engineering, physics, math and many more. It is not easy job to perform online Lab tasks. In online classes there is no comparative learning, class participation and recreational activities that keep candidates very normal, mentally.
In spite of all this discussed, it is need of the hour to establish policies that must be centric to student welfare and their demands must be taken under consideration. Though education losses are, undoubtedly, seen in this country but those are less than lives, Pakistan has protected from newly emerging disease – COVID-2019. Students, from almost of areas, have called for protests against online classes; unapproachable for majority. Their demands and given reasons, essentially, require a wide range concentration. State purpose of education is to keeping population into single entity for development of nation, educating; by creating the crisis, is not true education but promoting chaotic society and at this stage Pakistan cannot afford any confused status quo.

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