MARDAN: During the ongoing lockdown in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the administration of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) has decided to start online classes for students in order to keep the academic activities going.

Director Admissions Dr Attiqur Rehman said while talking to a news channel that all the classes of the university will go ahead according to the previous time-table and the attendance of students will also be ensured. He said timing is very important factor in the semester system, therefore, the students are requested to attend all the online classes and ensure their attendance.

Dr Attiqur Rehman said the university administration will provide any material which is needed by the students on the website. He said the AWKUM is also signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Virtual University to arrange online examinations for students. He said all the necessary material will be provided on the website.

This step of the university has drawn appreciation from students who are equipped with technology, but those living in areas not having technology or having financial constraints to arrange technology have said the university announcement is unlikely to benefit them.

Those who have expressed concerns say there is limited or no internet facility in their homes; even if there is internet availability, they will still be spending dozens of hours, how will they cover those extra internet charges? Will the university be compensating them as it is taking full fee from them; if somehow 20 out of 50 students manage to be present, what will be the fate of the remaining students who will not be able to attend due to genuine reasons? Many faculty members are in the areas where there are issues of internet connectivity and speed; since all shops are closed due to lock down, how will those students who wish to attend classes will add credit to their phones? Although, this might be manageable for many, but is still a hurdle for several other students.

Educational activities have come to a halt in the country due to partial or complete lockdown in different parts of the country due to fears of coronavirus spread. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has also approved a mobile application for online classes and academic discussion.