Education During the Covid19 Pandemic

What’s at Stake

With the advent of the Covid19 pandemic, schools, colleges and universities were forced to conduct classes via remote education. This necessitated the use of internet and internet devices such as laptop computers and smartphones. Given the large digital divide that exists in the country today, with a vast majority of people not having access to either, this resulted in large increase in students dropping out of educational institutions. According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, only one-million school-age children have regular access to internet services and digital devices (“The Coronavirus Effect on Pakistan’s Digital Divide” by Mehreen Zahra Malik, 14th July, 2020, BBC Worklife). While the Federal Government has been aiming to end “educational apartheid”, as long as there is a significant digital divide of the kind that exists in the country today, reaching this goal will be an uphill task. There is a dire need now, more than ever before, to attempt to bridge this gap. Without addressing this pressing concern, more and more children will be forced to give up education or miss out on a significant part of schooling.

Current Status

PILAP has written RTIs to the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training as well the School Education Department of the Punjab Government and the School Education and Literacy Department of the Government of Sindh. We ask about the number of students who were forced to drop out of school following the shift to remote education; measures taken to bridge the digital divide for school-going children to ensure that they’re education is not disrupted; and the training given to teachers for them to be able to teach effectively.

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