The year 2020 will always be remembered as one hell of a hectic year regarding the global pandemic i-e Covid-19, where millions of lives were lost to this deadly virus, erupting an international crisis in almost every part of the world.
Pakistan, of course, wasn’t spared by its brutal claws and we lost more than 10,000 people, not to mention the other social and economical impacts it had on our country. And of course, this virus did not spare educational systems as well.
The educational systems were disrupted all around the world, ending in the closure of schools, colleges and universities, in nearly every country to reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible.
And in response to the schools’ closures, teachers and students were recommended distance learning programs through apps such as Google Meet, Zoom etc. According to a survey, Covid-19 has already disturbed the education of 91% of students worldwide.
Following other countries footsteps, a lockdown was imposed in April 2020, all over Pakistan including markets, offices and educational institutes. However, the lockdown was lifted after a few months with the exclusion of educational institutes, only to be reopened in February 2021. Speaking of which the schools were shut off for almost a year.
That’s where our debate is heading to. As summer is approaching again, which is always followed by the summer holidays of a good 3 months. Our main concern is, whether kids should enjoy their holidays or unusually go to schools to catch up with their studies.
On one hand, it seems the most favourable thing to do so, since the quality of education in online classes is not up to the mark for several reasons. Firstly the teachers conducting online classes don’t seem to have full control over their students as they usually have in a classroom. Secondly apart from formal education’ students normally tend to learn a lot of informal education which is only possible with them having to interact with their class fellows in person.
Other than that not all people seem to have access to technology. This lack of access to technology or fast internet has a direct impact on students belonging to rural areas or underprivileged families. Like other privileged students, it was difficult for such students to keep up with the lectures.
However, if we look at this whole scenario from a teacher’s perspective, going to school even in the summer holidays doesn’t seem to be the best of ideas. Because honestly speaking, pandemic or no pandemic, teachers still had to prepare their lessons to conduct online classes, no matter what. It’s almost like they never had had a holiday even in the pandemic.
We talked about this issue to Noor ul Huda, who serves as a lecturer at AWKUM (Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan)
According to her; ” It’s the best of ideas if the provision of electricity is made a prerequisite so that the students canbe compensated for the time that’s already been wasted because of lockdown.”
But the Principal of The Educators School (Faqirabad Campus) is of the view that: “Students can’t beat the scorching summer heat. However, educational institutions can minimise the number of holidays by giving only one month holidays instead of two and a half months”.
In light of the above discussion and comments, it seems that the best strategy would be to strike a balance between both of the options. Besides the provision of the power being made a prerequisite, along with the minimization of holidays, the number of school hours should also be lessened.
Given the fact that the government has also announced 13 days of spring holidays for educational institutions, another two and a half months of summer holidays don’t seem to be a promising decision regarding students’ studies.
Moreover, the fear of the third wave of Corona is still looming over our heads. So given the situation, the government should also contemplate the suggestions of education and academic experts when the proper time of deciding the summer holidays duration arrives.