It is quite horrified to see the situation of education in remote areas of Sindh after the spread of COVID-19. Following the directives of the health and education departments, the private and public schools in Sindh have been providing online education. The online mode of education has actually risked the academic outputs in Sindh as a new terminology ‘online exams’ has been introduced that is quite new to the students here. The terminology ‘online learning’ has been used by many developed countries and they usually call it ‘online distance learning’.
Since its outbreak, COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge for every sector out there but the education sector has been hit the most across the world.
In Sindh, prolonged closure of educational institutions has resulted in immense educational and academic loss to the children. Decisions from the provincial and federal governments have not been well thought out soon after the outbreak of the coronavirus while, since the beginning of the second wave of COVID-19 in November 2020, the government again decided to close down the educational institutions leaving the students at the mercy of online tutorials. The remote areas in Sindh again could not benefit from this decision of the government as it was almost impossible for the students there to attend online classes due to internet connectivity issues and lack of internet devices. It is still a challenging task to arrange internet connectivity in the remote areas of Sindh as it demands extra efforts to improve the education system in the province.
In Sindh, a huge number of students do not attend school after primary due to multiple reasons like early marriage, child labour and migration or because the parents usually take their children for farming. The pandemic has added fuel to fire and the situation has become worst and it is feared that the attendance of the students will be highly affected after the reopening of the schools. In such a scenario, role of the teachers and parents will be very important to restore the children’s interest in education. Government and stakeholders should play their roles by mobilizing the children and making sure their presence at their schools.
The outcomes of online learning are quite difficult to measure as this method has never been in practice by the government or schools and this is definitely a very new terminology for the students. There are several connectivity issues as well; as Pakistan is still using the 4G system while people use internet only when they need it.
Creating and sharing a long video can be very expensive for the teachers and students both, so, the mobile companies must announce special packages for the students and teachers to make this process easy and accessible for all. The government should also play its role in making the online learning easier and handy for the students and instructors both.
Avinash Advani is an independent researcher, author, educationalist, blogger and philanthropist. Currently, he is associated with social sector and is promoting education in rural areas. He also has publications in different journals across the world. Avinash can be reached at [email protected]