Based on recent studies conducted by leading educationalists around the world, it has been observed that as a response to Covid-19, learning institutes have been practicing Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) instead of e-Learning. This is primarily because ERT is more practical — a temporary and short-term transition of delivering education without much change in pedagogy. On the other hand, E-learning requires careful deliberation and the formulation of institutional policies and frameworks for course design. It also requires specialised training for teachers to become familiar with state-of-the-art online teaching tools and sites. But more than that, it requires an effective and streamlined collaboration with the IT department so that the delivery of term assessments and exams are not at all compromised. Everything needs to be seamlessly connected in order for the whole system to work. But due to lack of resources, not many institutions are able to resort to a fully-fledged e-learning system.
Surprisingly, educational institutes in Pakistan are already familiarising and assisting their teachers with interactive teaching tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, ensuring that education and learning is not disrupted at any cost. Furthermore, they are also conducting digital assessments on forums through comprehensive training and assistance, thus bringing into limelight the fact that in the midst of challenging times, teachers can become facilitators and responsible educationalist who strive to preserve the future of their students.
Even though it is undeniable that the rapid shift towards the use of technology in and out of classrooms entails many difficulties and obstacles for instructors, embracing e-learning instead of ERT is of utmost importance, especially for the future. Even if schools have physically re-opened, the possibility of future lockdowns still loom over us. Thus, it is imperative that the government and the private sector collaborate over the implementation of e-learning by hiring designers who are capable of integrating pedagogy with technology. But what is most important is that students should be engaged in the process.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2020.