Lockout of Remote Learning


A pandemic has forced a country to figure out the internet-deprived areas and devices for students. Pakistan is facing egregious problems of digital inequality.

In a country dealing with a grim financial crisis, an advanced health infrastructure required for vulnerable people. Pakistan wobbles on the edge of deep-rooted disaster with the coronavirus epidemic. Where most of the countries, including Pakistan, shut down the school, collages, and universities, as Pakistan currently has the 2nd highest figure of coronavirus confirmed cases in South Asia.

Even before the pandemic lockdown, According to GISW ( Global Information Social Watch) an estimated percentage of internet users in Pakistan is 28.15 percent. concomitantly, the rest of the population don’t have access to the internet and Pakistan ranked least internet inclusive nation in South Asia, while students having difficulties in completing routine academic assignments due to lack internet access in internet-deprived areas. The outcomes of letting the disease spread further would be disastrous, so the government shut down all the schools, colleges and universities to sway the epidemic — this gust up the chaos in educational institutes. Later on, some of the universities declared that classes would be held virtually, as the government imposed a partial lockdown.

If we dig into this, we have numerous perks of a virtual classroom; Students can engage in discussions, quiz sessions, and in lectures without riding a bike, or by any other transit although without wasting credit hours in semesters. This also helps to lift the anxiety from university administration as well from students who are worrying about their semester, and these results are reassuring at a time like the COVID-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 pandemic likely to give us more challenges exceeding those that come up in the progression of routine virtual education. Even if this viral expanse subsides, or a vaccination becomes promptly available. The shift from virtual classes back to in-person learning may create interruptions of its own— due to essential rules in remote learning following, unaccustomed off phone-checking habits, and conveying remarks back to hard copies somewhat of digital notes. Hopefully, these aspects of troubleshooting can grant universities, professors and students with the possibility to practice pliability, endurance and flexibility. And inexperience teachers have chances to engage themselves in these activities as preparation for next challenges that may arise with the future pestilence, pandemic and other disasters; however, in reality, as the initial shift of virtual classes has created anxious behavior among students.

The savvy university systems that served connected populations seem to starts relatively sleekly with the new order of business. Concurrently, some of our regions that lack internet infrastructure and serve profoundly under the poverty line have given up altogether on remote learning. Still, universities are pursuing online classes through the virtual setup out of fear they might risking student’s future as broadband-deprived families cannot gain access to the internet

Students are claiming that the virtual classroom creates a timorous move that makes it challenging to have a back-and-forth discussion between multiple people. There is complete pandemonium and students are creating rusty sound. It’s nearly paradoxical to contribute thoughtful interpretation without feeling like you’re talking into a void.

Students have found it arduous to focus on a pixelated video screen. The problem, too, is that webinars technology doesn’t truly live up to the hype. The susurration of papers, background noise, wind, and feedback are like herding cats. Virtual classroom threatened the student’s grades.

Moreover, only a couple of universities managed to set up a virtual environment for students and all of them are private universities. In contrast, other universities students might have to face a semester break, which places a question mark to digital inequality in Pakistan.

The digital inequality curve shows that essential services take root in areas where all they have to better digital infrastructure. From there, fed by a technology enabler, they better and, over time, become proficient of undertaking more complex enigmas and serving more demanding users. That’s the opportunity remote learning now has in front of it, whatever future hold one thing is certain, it just won’t be the same as today

Given that university faculty are clambering to relocate courses online, it’s now painstakingly clear that universities ought to have had more hard preparation or strategies in place in the event of gaps in their campus administrations. But because many universities did not have such infrastructure in place and did not have significant support or devices to build great online courses quickly, virtual learning is about to get a nefarious reputation at many campuses, we suspect.

It has been noted that students in isolated areas lack internet access or facility and are forced to use transit to places with the means to attend a virtual classroom, which is reckless in the current scenario.

As we are new to remote learning, so there is real jeopardy that both cost-cutting exercises and well-meaning moves to extend access to higher education could lead to more significant numbers of disadvantaged students being consigned to cheap and inefficient online learning, with pernicious outcomes.

There are numerous risks that transferring vulnerable students online will create more critical problems rather than resolving the ostensibly intractable intricacy of unequal educational opportunity

These circumstances are taking place in an ambience of scepticism over how long the lockdown will last. Educational institutes will need more advance infrastructure— and new technical staff— if it turns out that a comprehensive online infrastructure is required for the haul.

Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (HEC) should take notice and take private universities on board to reconsider the decision on remote learning, as virtual classroom threatened students’ grades and also semester break for students living in internet-deprived areas. HEC should look to the current digital infrastructure given the desperate need in poor and rural areas; it would also be right to something like it — to bring permanent broadband into homes for millions of internet-deprived and support students.

Last but not least adjourning the digital divide — and bringing all Pakistani’s into the modern age — This requires a momentous effort to digitalize the whole country.

Faran Khalid
Faran Khalid
Faran Manj from Faisalabad, Pakistan. A researcher and social media activist, currently studying bachelors of legislative law. I have done several projects on current affairs for my university's journal


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