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This article was originally submitted by Faraiba AhmedSince the prevalence of the pandemic, the teaching and learning debate has become a major concern; of all the social circles. Literacy rate of any country is directly proportional to the kind of citizen and institutions it produces. In short, literacy rate of any country directly affects the international ranking of the country. Due to these reasons, the education sector is given high importance.
Apparently, this pandemic coronavirus has imprisoned the whole world; within the four walls, and the education process can be kept ongoing only through online teaching processes. The world might have struggled much while managing with the challenges; of coronavirus, and Pakistan is not an exception. However, our struggles are a bit more complex than those of the most progressed world. We do have challenges like no internet connectivity or poor internet facilities in far-flung areas, students with no laptops, and parents; with fewer resources, to accommodate their children in separate rooms to continue with learning processes.Already juggling with many challenges; like poverty, illiteracy, extremism, poor economy, this pandemic proved itself nonetheless a nightmare. Already crippled with many external and internal changes, the Pakistani government seemed proactive; in managing educational related affairs. All stakeholders put their valuable contribution to keeping the education process ongoing; through the online teaching-learning system. Unfortunately, a general discontent is observed from all the major stakeholders. On the government level, an online educational channel was launched yet there raised a few major questions.
Is the launched channel meeting the needs of three different kinds of schooling system; working simultaneously in Pakistan as elite schools, B, & C grade schools and madrassah system?
This effort apparently does not seem productive in catering needs of three entirely opposite systems running simultaneously. Moving forward to the higher education system they followed the system of online teaching but again right after the beginning, many students recorded their protests. While the protest of students on various social media platforms is an indication of dissatisfaction of students as the major stakeholders of the higher education process.Parents and students are even observed on electronic and print media protesting about the ineffectiveness of the online education system. The higher education administration seemed prompt in responding to the queries of students and their parents. Meanwhile, students and parents kept on recording their protests against the online teaching and claimed the return of dues.A point to be noticed here was the role, contribution, efforts of the teachers who stayed on toes to cope up with the demands of the online teaching. Their 6 to 7 hours duties turned to 11 to 12 hours where they are not only bound to take online classes, stay online during those scheduled hours but to send a report for every task. Sadly, neither parents nor administration has ever acknowledged their worthy contribution. Teachers are under emotional, mental as well as financial stress laid by these major stakeholders.
Few questions are to be considered here that the same teachers continued teaching processes than how come they have failed in deliverance.
The only difference is of the mode i.e through online classes. How come their techniques failed all of a sudden?? Majority of the teachers have reported harassment and maltreatment in their online classes from students. Poor attendance was another matter even though those students have already submitted their consent with good internet connections. They have also reported financial stress they have endured during this pandemic. In short, they had been under serious stress during this phase.Pakistan is known amongst those unfortunate countries where teachers are paid the lowest salaries. In such crucial circumstances, teachers working either on contract or visiting basis have feared to lose their job. Few teachers particularly working with private organizations have complained of financial stress they experienced even though they had been regular in their online classes.Universally teaching is known to be one of the most highly paid and respectable job while in Pakistan it is entirely opposite. Teaching has become a robotic job where a teacher is merely a puppet working on certain aims and objectives as set by those organizations.
Privatization of schools, colleges and universities have worsened the situations; where parents and students get a license to humiliate, oppress and even expel a teacher.
A few facts aren’t to be known but to be accepted that the downfall of the nations is primarily due to the downfall of our education system. This is to be understood that the fact the creating hue and cry over online teaching won’t change other than seizing this ongoing process. The suspension of online education would cause a major loss of time because this pandemic has no timeline of departure. Nor we know about the treatment of the vaccine making its way to the market. We might have to survive with this pandemic for long. So for how long can we bear suspension of the classes?Another major concern the social media is bombarded with is the connectivity issues in far-flung areas. Few of them have to travel to urban of their localities to take their classes and an overall sympathy for them is observed. Our education system generously distributed degrees but failed to each them life skills. They failed to make them better humans capable of managing with hardships of life.We failed to teach our students that our Prophet (PBUH) urged us to travel to China to get education however our students with all luxuries and facilities show the least interest in their online classes. Sadly almost 80 have good internet but we do not live in a remote world and there exists possibility even in the most impossible circumstances.
To conclude, we all need to accept that the world was never ready for this pandemic and like all other nations we need to tackle circumstances with maturity.
Instead of playing the blame game, all the stakeholders need to develop a sense of responsibility. Parents need to teach them to make positive use of their energies and facilities. Teachers need to stay intact with their teaching and making students realize their crucial roles in hard times. Students need to stay active, respond, question and analyse their learning processes.In short, miracles rarely occur and nations have to burn the midnight oil to win the unconquerable battles. We need to be realistic and embrace the minimum or maximum we have access to during these hard times.