In Pakistan, the current pandemic novel coronavirus was confirmed to have reached in the month of February 2020. In the month of March 2020, the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread all over Pakistan. In this pandemic situation, it’s important to reduce the spread of disease.
In an effort to slow the continuous spread of coronavirus, Higher education commission Pakistan (HEC) has directed all university with enough resources to start online classes so that can avoid the loss of education. According to the HEC official announcement, all the universities across the country having a well setup of the learning management system (LMS) to start online classes. Furthermore, universities having limited resources will remain close for all academic activities till 31 May 2020.
In case of extended closure, such universities shall be able to build and execute their own learning management system (LMS) from June 01, 2020, so that they can resume the ongoing semester.
In response to the novel coronavirus, the efforts of higher education commission (HEC) are ought to be commended but it not as easy as it sounds. Because such rapid adoption of online education is astonishing. There are plenty of students who are disappointed with online teaching system in Pakistan. The majority of students belong to middle and lower-middle classes and face many difficulties in attending online classes because of the poor internet connectivity’s.
Even Last week #WeRejectOnlineClasses was popped out as one of the most top trends on twitter. Students are posting their issues on different social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Majority of the students have many valid points such as:
Internet Connectivity issues
First, it is difficult for the students to attend an online class who belongs to rural areas. Because the majority of them don’t have access to the internet and they demand HEC to provide internet facilities to underprivileged areas. While some of them request HEC to consult with PTA and networking companies to improve the quality and speed of the internet especially in northern areas.
Second students cannot afford money to buy heavy bundles of the internet, and even most of them cannot afford to buy smartphones and Laptops.
Practical Work Issues
The online education system is not an effective way to learn for students who belong to the medical and engineering fields. Because how a medical student perform Lab work or other practical work online? And what about numerical subjects? How a teacher can cover these practical subjects without enough resources? And why they pay a bundle of lacs for online lectures without practical work.
Above mentioned are the issues faced by the majority of students. However, the story is not ended here; there are a lot of other many issues of students that HEC should resolve.
HEC Notice Against Students Complaints Regarding Online Classes
In response to the issues regarding low-quality online classes in some universities, HEC asked to stop online courses. After receiving too many complaints from students the higher education deciding to inspect the capacity of universities. Even many of the students warned through their posts and hashtags on social media to boycott the poor quality online classes. After a lot of criticism, HEC has collected all complaints of students on social media and starts trying to addressing the issues of students. Even Higher education TV also retweets the issues of students.
In a recent tweet of Higher education commission on April 06, 2020, they tweeted that they are working with universities to set up a proper system for effective online classes. And if still, they found lack of capacity to deliver effective online classes they have been asked to #SuspendOnlineClasses!.
[THREAD] Dear Students, we ARE listening.
We hear you loud & clear. Online learning is far from perfect. Let's work together to fix it.
— HEC Pakistan (@hecpkofficial) April 6, 2020
There are a few things that we’re still figuring out:
-How can we help students in remote areas?
-What about students that don't have a laptop/smartphone?
-How can we make data free?
-How will assessments/exams take place?
-What about grades?
-What if the electricity goes out?
— HEC Pakistan (@hecpkofficial) April 6, 2020
They said that students are our number 1 priority and universities have been asked to establish committees to resolve the issues of students.
Moreover, they also talk about Taleem Bundle in their recent tweet posted on April 06, 2020. They said they are working with mobile operators on data bundles so that students can access the internet at low cost,
In addition, students are still not willing to take online classes because of a lot of issues. They are still promoting their different hashtags on social media against poor quality online classes.
Let’s see what happens next…