Tariq Aziz

PESHAWAR: Coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Pakistan during its third wave and the government has once again decided to keep the schools in selected districts, including some districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, closed till April 11.

According to the decision of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), schools will remain closed in Peshawar, Madran, Charsadda, Swabi, Kohat, Malakand, Swat, Lower Dir, Nowshera and Buner districts of KP.

On the other hand, the government has banned the participation of more than 300 guests in indoor wedding functions. Keeping in view this standard, the closure of schools is beyond comprehension as there are only about 40 to 50 students in a classroom. While looking at the increasing cases, there is no doubt that decision of restrictions has been taken with a good intention, but the question arises that what alternate do we have to keep the process of education continuing to save the precious time of students.

No one knows when this corona danger will end and what to do to save precious time of students. The developed world has switched to online education system as an alternate till the problem subsides, but in Pakistan this is not working well due to unavailability of internet in many areas and lack of training and understanding of the system by teachers and students. We need to make some basic changes in the academic system to cope with the needs of modern day challenges.

The problem of internet availability and its higher rates is a cause of concern for students in many cities and particularly in rural areas. Such is the low budget of education that some universities are now facing difficulties in even paying monthly salaries to teachers.

The whole last year was wasted due to schools closure and the practice continues. Some students may be happy over so many vacations, but they must be aware of repercussions as well. The process of education must not stop and it must be continued online until regular classes become possible. For this, the students need to be provided smartphones and laptops along with internet connectivity.

The previous government had launched laptop scheme for students, but the current government stopped it over corruption allegations. Such schemes are good for talented students and must not be stopped on political basis.

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