Coronavirus brings online education

Ali Sheikh

Coronavirus is a pandemic that has not hit a single area, community or country. But has badly clinched the whole world. It already has killed a large number of people and the number is increasing each passing day. China, which is the epicenter of this deadly virus, has controlled the situation to a larger extent, still the world is facing a brutal attack from this virus. During the twentieth century the world has seen a number of new phenomena in every field of life, but for Pakistanis this coronavirus has brought an altogether new phenomenon – Online Teaching.

Soon after it was announced that all the educational institutions in the country will remain closed till May 31, a debate started about how to cope with the situation where the academic year of the students is at stake and everyone agreed on Online Classes. The well equipped and managed private schools of the eliteclass were quick to react to the situation and announced a plan for their teachers as well as the students.

Some are using google classrooms, Microsoft Team, Zoom etc. They were also quick to start providing homework to their students on daily basis which is keeping the teachers and students busy throughout the lockdown.  But after few days the things started getting difficult for both teachers and students. The teachers started to get pressure from the schools administration for forcing the students to actively take part in online classes while they were also asked to regularly give feedback regarding the new system.

A few of the teachers whom The Frontier Post contacted said during the normal situation there were working hours but in current situation there was no specific time for official work. They also said that students send their homework late night and if the teachers check them the next day the authorities snub them for checking the work late.

On the other hand, the students say the speed of the internet is a major issue for them as the service providers fail to give good service in this crunch time and they face disconnections during the online education.

Whatever the circumstances are, the students of these schools in one way or the other get some education but what about the students who either study in government schools or in private schools that are not of the elite nature. They are from the families in which only one person has the smart phone and that too of a low quality. Also they do not have the broadband internet facility at home and usually use the mobile net.

In this situation, the authorities must come up with some concrete measures for such students.Pakistan is not a tech-savy country and I would suggest that government should use the television screen to utilize it for educating the children. In this regard, not only the government-run but the private TV channels can play their role.

Teaching students on general topics of English, Urdu, Math, Science and Social Studies can be a good option. Also the teachers from the government school can play their part in volunteering themselves for making videos of their lectures to be aired on television. Apart from these, the lectures already prepared by Allama Iqbal Open University and Virtual University can also be used. Moreover, we can get lectures from our neighbouring country India or from any other friendly country to provide education to those students who are miles away from online education but just yard away from television screen.

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