Friday July 01, 2022

Online education not accessible, affordable to every body

April 27, 2020

Covid-19 has literally wreaked havoc around the globe. It has affected every sphere of life, be it business, education, sports, etc. Among many things, it has also brought about a change in the general behaviour — no gatherings, no handshakes, no socializing, etc. People have been confined inside their houses with many asked to work from home.

With restrictions on large gatherings, all educational institutions are also closed. The students — whether from schools, colleges or universities — ‘enjoyed’ the first couple of weeks of the forced vacation but then came the online classes.

Online classes or work given with the help of the social platforms is a great idea to keep students busy and involved in studies. After all, we are living in the age of information technology. But it is also true that such a move in a country like Pakistan can also have its problems.

A large number of schools have started following the trend and are asking their students to take online classes without realizing that the move cannot be applicable on 100 per cent children. Not speaking of the big-name schools — the fee of one student is more than an average household’s monthly income — but a number of other institutions.

While talking to a friend a couple of days ago, the scribe learnt that he was a bit disturbed. On being asked what the matter was, he told this scribe that he had three school-going children. As is the practice, all of them have to take online classes. But the issue is that he has only one computer and all three children have classes simultaneously.

This is just one example. There are many families like such friend’s. Then there are people who cannot afford a computer or a laptop; there are those who do have a smart phone but the father has to take it along with him to work or if the mobile set is at home they do not have the internet facility; and then there are people who still do not possess a smart phone. Most of the people who own a smart phone do not even know all of its features — the most they know is Youtube and taking pictures. How can online classes be beneficial if it is not reaching out to all the students?

It is not only the students or their parents who are facing problem with online classes. The move is also giving a lot of teachers a headache. Most school administrators have just called a meeting of the teachers and have asked them to teach their students online. A lot of teachers have been scratching their heads as they have no idea how to teach online. Then there are the same issues with teachers as mentioned above regarding the students and their parents. The idea of online classes for school students can only work if all of them possess the facilities at home. Even if a few of them don’t have such facility, then that would be unfair to them. With the coronavirus pandemic not likely to go away anytime soon, the schools will have to come up with another way to keep their students busy and involved in studies.