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October 25, 2020

Education sector faced unprecedented issues due to COVID-19

Islamabad

October 25, 2020

Islamabad : Education sector faced unprecedented issues and limitations due to COVID-19, which resulted in widening of the pre-existing divides in the education system.

The issue was extensively discussed in a policy dialogue organised by Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) as part of its 11th annual convention held in Islamabad themed around “Education in the COVID era and Beyond”.

The discussion brought focus to the host of issues and limitations COVID has brought forth. National Coordinator of PCE Zehra Arshad commenced the discussion with an overview of the educational landscape under COVID and how the already marginalized segments of the society, mainly girls, children with disabilities, students belonging to low socio-economic backgrounds and religious and ethnic minorities have had to face the brunt of the shortcomings of the system these past few months. She highlighted how Pakistan’s shift towards e-learning and online digital educational platforms may have helped soften the blow, it has unveiled and magnified the inequalities that exist in the education system.

The online education has further exacerbated accessibility issues in education due to an unavailability of broadband access in majority areas of the country, especially for children who do not belong to privileged backgrounds. In case of women, the cultural and social barriers further restrict girls’ and women’s access to any form of information technology. Although the government’s Teleschool initiative has been timely and smart considering the chosen medium, it is important to be cognizant of the student population that either cannot afford a television or have been forced into labour or domestic chores as a result of the pandemic, she said.