New delivery model of e-education termed necessary

Students restricted in homes due to virus-related disruptions may access quality teaching online


APP April 20, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: Like many other countries around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has also affected the education sector of Pakistan as students remain restricted to their homes.

However, online learning has made it possible for students to stay safe and get access to quality education during the crisis.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the closure of schools and colleges particularly disrupted the education of 363 million students and learners, from pre-primary to tertiary levels, including 57.8 million students of higher education, worldwide.

As part of precautionary measures in Pakistan, the government ordered closure of all educational institutions till May 31.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) directed all educational institutions to initiate online academic classes for students confined to their homes. According to a notification of the Federal Ministry of Education, the teaching management of educational institutions was directed by the government that all possible online courses should be started on an urgent basis through training system of experts by utilising existing resources.

A 'data bank of online courses' was developed for students of various levels and shared with respective faculty training experts for knowledge dissemination.

UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay, in a recent international video conference, invited global educationists to come forward with an emergency response by sharing respective strategies and online study plans to help minimise academic losses.

The DG said that the UN educational and scientific body was providing best possible support to disease-affected countries by ensuring immediate educational remedies and paradigms to the students of inclusive distance learning.

Speaking to APP, Punjab Government Spokesperson Musarrat Jamshed Cheema said that the government had taken solid measures to overcome the problems related to academic and syllabus learning.

She added, "Almost all major educational institutions have started online courses to overcome academic losses of the students.”

She urged the financially-strong members of society to come forward in this hour of need and assist vulnerable students particularly those who could not afford education in the prevailing situation. “Private educational institutions should voluntarily contribute at least a 20 per cent discount for students in their school fees for the months of April and May.”

HEC Chairman Tariq Banuri said, in his tweet, “In response to a number of complaints regarding online classes in some universities, the HEC is immediately going to inspect the quality and capacity of the universities on the content of the courses, their delivery and connectivity.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2020.

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