COVID-19 has not only created a deadly global health and economic crisis but also it created a learning crisis across the world. Talking about Pakistan which is the fifth most populous country faced a great loss in education system. Like economy of the country, the entire education system collapsed during the first wave of covid-19. Schools, colleges and universities had to face strict lockdown with no wave off in fees. In short, education system of Pakistan was declining day by day.
With the first wave of covid-19 there were sad waves all around the country, not particularly in education sector. Education sector had to faced many issues in this pandemic, which were about to resolve until the third wave of covid-19 just hit us. Educational institutes in Punjab have been closed just to minimize the spread of virus from reaching the youngest segment of society.
TOP 3 ISSUES FACED BY EDUCATION SYSTEM IN PAKISTAN DURING COVID-19:
The education system of Pakistan is comprised of 260903 institutions which accommodates 41018384 students and 1535461 teachers, also worried about how they can find jobs related to their field. Out of this number of institutions 31% are private sector and 69% are public institutions. On March 16, 2020 all schools, colleges and universities decided to close the institutions till the situation gets under control. In the mid of September 2020, institutions were allowed to conduct physical classes but then the second wave of Covid again hit the institutes. To keep the students in touch with their education, schools and colleges have decided to adapt innovative measures such as online classes and remote learning via WhatsApp group. But this innovation has given birth to certain issues.
#1: A LARGE NUMBER OF STUDENTS CANT HAVE ANY ACCESS TO INTERNET:
Pakistan is an underdeveloped country where having smart phone with an internet connection comes under luxury not a necessity. A lot of students in government sector were deprived of this luxury. Laptops or even basic desktop computers are out of their reach. In such situation it becomes a weighty question to carry on online classes. Not only this, the young boys and girls of universities had to face tough time to get in touch with their online classes. If they have internet, sometimes there is not power and sometimes the internet goes down. Around 66% of the household doesn’t use any kind of technology for learning whereas the richer households are 55% more likely to use technology for distant learning.
#2: TEACHING STAFF IS HESITANT IN GIVING ONLINE LECTURES:
Majority of the school teachers (senior ones) are not tech-savvy and that’s the reason they faced a lot of difficulty in online teaching. Such teachers are used to having constant student’s feedback which is quite less in e-learning. Apart from this, in online learning teachers have to focus more on theory than practice. The reason is theoretical knowledge is considerably easier to implement than the practical knowledge. In a nut shell, conducting online classes is a big challenge for senior and mature teachers. This challenge can be resolved if teachers have been provided proper training to make them aware of the basic understanding of using digital platforms of learning. Unfortunately, because of financial crisis schools and college managements are unable to do so.
The second side of picture is the unavailability of necessary resources and tools to conduct online classes especially for the teachers of remote area.
#3 : STRENGTH OF STUDENTS HAS DROPPED OUT:
Due to pandemic and lock down, many people have lost their jobs. And this unemployment is the reason that parents can’t afford school fees be it a government or private. Thereby, students are forced to drop out of the school. This is such an alarming situation. According to a recent study, out of 22 million students 9300000 students have quitted school due to unemployment of their parents. Such students are now showing up at small jobs to make ends meet. This in turn decreases the literacy rate of our country.
Currently education system of Pakistan was about to revive but the third wave of Covid has arrived. Except Sindh , educational institutions have been lock down in different province. Pakistan’s economy will said to lose between 67-155$ billion if educational institutions are closed. This loss will be equivalent to governments spending on education in past 2-5 years.