Since the outbreak of coronavirus, online teaching has become a norm. Many educational institutes around the world had already adopted online teaching. Thus, it was not a task for them to incorporate it into their curriculum upon the pandemic. However, due to a lack of resources and the absence of training and expertise, Pakistani universities had not been able to adapt to online teaching until it became imperative last year. The International Islamic University of Islamabad is now conducting online classes for the fall semester. The decision came after a recent notification in response to a surge in Covid cases.
Although online education prevents students from the risk of Covid-19, it is, however, proving to be extremely challenging for many students. Newcomers like myself would like to have a physical learning environment where students can interact with teachers and with one another in person. Online teaching has created a sense of alienation amongst students especially newcomers because they do not even know their peers. Instead of just undertaking physical examinations, the university must consider implementing a hybrid system where students have some physical classes. In addition, many students do not have access to laptops or smartphones and WiFi services to attend online classes, which further puts a strain on them.
Restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and other public places have remained open in line with NCOC rules and regulations. Universities and educational institutes must also observe these restrictions and resume classes. If all other public places are operating as normal, so should universities. The protection of students’ health should not be at the cost of their education.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2021.