Covid-19 and Pakistan - Where education stands

Covid-19 and Pakistan: Where education stands?

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Covid-19 and Pakistan - Where education standsThe question is where education stands in Pakistan amidst Covid-19? The government closed all the education institutions to stop spreading the coronavirus while other establishments remained open. It introduced online education system without providing any facility to students. This has caused great loss to the nation.  

Muhammad Hussain

We do not deny impinge of covid-19. It halted all sectors, especially the education system, which is more affected in developing countries. However, many countries did not allow the education system to be disturbed, because they know only education is the tool that could take them out of this evil. They switched the whole education system over to online and tried to provide every basic facility of online education to its citizens.

Govt. of Japan has taken a positive step to combat the financial and educational crises of the students impacted by covid-19. They provide scholarships and loans to them. According to a report, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology entered into partnership with GIGA, a group of companies, to support schools installing high-speed internet and provide students with laptops and the tabs for accessing the web. On the other side, Pakistan doesn’t pay heed to this sector. Here the government always attaches it the lowest priority.

The government of Pakistan closed the education institutions to stop spreading the coronavirus while other establishments remained open. The government of Pakistan wasted a whole precious year of the students and opted promoting the students without any examination. Now, once again the government has closed the educational institutions while all other offices, malls and other establishments are open as usual. The ruling parties in center and provinces are fully focusing on their election campaign, while other social and political activities are going on as per routine. They know that it’s the way to gain the power.

On the other hand students and teachers are happy to see the institutions closed because in the online education system there is no check and balance on students and most importantly they pass the exam without any effort.  Che Guevara had rightly said that “When the institution’s doors are closed I saw happy ignorant people.” This is unfortunate that our nation doesn’t know the importance of education.

Similarly, teachers are happy as they don’t take interest in delivering lectures. They just come a few minutes in an online class for giving tasks to students. They don’t check the assignment nor give feedback on the student’s assignments. They become lazy. This, I experienced in my online classes. One of our teachers neither takes the assignment nor presentation and even doesn’t check the paper and gives marks to the students on personal relationship. This bias engineers bad relationships between students and teachers, and that is why students don’t give respect to the teacher. These biases remove the essence of the relationship between students and teachers.

The government deems they shifted the education system online which mitigates the education crisis. We appreciate this step of government but the online education system produces huge gap between haves and have not. Also, it exacerbated the situation in the provinces. Many areas of Pakistan have no access to the internet and electricity. These areas are already facing immense problems and the online education system adds fuel to the fire of the situation.

Moreover, online education produces a cheating environment that is more dangerous than the Coronavirus. We will save ourselves from the coronavirus but we cannot save the destruction caused by cheating. As a famous saying goes, “If you want to destroy a nation then give the cheating environment in the exam. It dies people by their hands. Fake doctors kill their patients with their hands. Similarly, bureaucracy will fail to owe incompetent officers. The same situation we are seeing in Pakistan.

Online education increases the dropout. Pakistan is already facing an illiteracy rate crisis. According to a report, 930,000 students are expected to drop out of school as they don’t afford the expenses of internet packages and other related items of online education such as mobile phones, laptop, and tabs.

The government should adopt the Japanese education system during Covid-19. If it does not adopt that type of education then open the educational institutions with strict SOPs but please don’t close the institutions. All of the aforementioned crisis will mitigate if government follows these types of measures. Otherwise, it will worsen the education system as well as the social and political system of Pakistan.

In short online education is not fruitful in Pakistan. We don’t deny the health importance but education is the sine quo non for the survival of any nation. It is only the education which makes our health good and makes us able to combat this type of disease and other critical situations. Therefore the government of Pakistan should review the education policy of closing the educational institutions.

Pakistan is already behind many countries. Even after 73 years, Pakistan doesn’t come in the line of developed countries while on the other hand China, who got independence after 3 years of Independence of Pakistan, is now a days a great economic power.

Had we good education system, our doctors and scientists would have developed vaccine for combating this virus. Unfortunately, our top priority is gaining the power, no the education. Take the example of our neighboring country India that has prepared countless vaccines and is boosting its economy by export this vaccine to other countries.

In one line I conclude my whole story “education is the panacea of all ills of Pakistan.”

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Muhammad Hussain is Lahore-based freelance writer. He has done BS Hons in English literature from Punjab University Lahore.
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