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This article was originally submitted by Kazim Raza
So, this topic must’ve been on the heads of a lot of students for some time now; considering the quarantine, everyone has been in.
The universities started taking online lectures on Zoom or MS Teams; since HEC announced the policies for such. However, the question arises whether such policies, guidelines and classes were actually effective or not. The talks about our education system being outdated; globally, have been in the air for quite some time now and countries have been working on high ends; to figure out positive solutions. However, the Coronavirus outbreak really showed everyone a reflection of the true story.
Many instructors who used up the whole of their energies in the classrooms; during the face to face learning system to discipline the students, were now completely helpless – when students turned on their laptops and muted their mics, turned off their cameras and went back to sleep.
Many of the instructors themselves were not in favour of digital learning systems but HEC was persistent to carry it out. Furthermore, many students and teachers advised the authorities through various means to utilize this time as a summer break; for the students, and re-open with the commencement of the semester as it was but all in vain.
The classes kept taking place with the students taking them more and more for granted with each passing day.
Some teachers started giving out assignments to constantly engage the students and it did but still, the problem remains unsolved to a much greater extent.
Not so long after all this, the education ministry announced that all the schools and colleges will remain closed till 15th July; with the students appearing for board exams be promoted to the next classes. With this, a wave of excitement ran through all the students of Pakistan; including the university students looking towards HEC with a ray of hope (as there was a rumour that pass/fail criteria may be adopted.)
HEC announced that the decision would be entirely up to the administrations of the universities themselves; that is where the trouble began. The students were under a lot of stress as many had faced the demise of their loved ones at the hands of this pandemic. As a result, many were also facing panic attacks due to this and nothing was the same anymore. In the same line of events, many universities started taking thesis projects from their final year students whereas many even announced final examinations right after Eid!
Here’s the question many other students, as well as, I am asking
Many companies that employ the graduating batch are practically laying off workers. So then why are you sending the students into an empty and barren land?
Secondly, if you’re so determined to take exams then why not give heavy research papers and assignments; rather than torture the students with a sword hanging over their heads and, I must add, increase your workload exponentially? The maximum number of the universities worldwide have decided; to keep their campuses closed off till January 2021, and they have been giving essays and research articles; to grade their students.
Well, then why can such measures not be implemented in Pakistan; keeping in mind many of our students have little to no access to a good/fair internet connection, and if they do, they are facing load-shedding problems? I would also like to mention here the mental trauma the students are going through; as many of them may have been affected by this virus. Others would’ve lost a loved one to the same or just simply the trauma he/she is going to go through; when his light goes off or his internet connection fails to deliver at the time.