By Hira Rajput, Ayesha and Muhammad Hussain
Education is the most powerful weapon that can change the whole world, said Nelson Mandela. It is the sine quo non for the survival of the society or state. Those countries which are more developed in this sector, are ruling the whole world. We can know the importance of education from this verse of the Quran, “Are those who know equal to those who don’t know” ( 39.9). Due to lack of genuine will, governments don’t pay enough attention to this sector. It is always made a scapegoats to prioritise other institutions. Nowadays umpteenth students are on roads and they are demanding basic education. The government of Punjab has abolished the reserved Quota of Balochistan and Fata students. They have been on hunger strike for 8 days in front of Punjab governor house. Also, there are multiple challenges of students which they are combating amidst in COVID-9.
Firstly, the whole education system has shifted to online from traditional one. This online education system adds fuel to the fire in the underprivileged areas where they already are combating umpteenth problems, such as no train teachers, lack of technology as well as there is no electricity in that areas. One of my friends who hails from Pathan Kot told me that there is 1 hour of electricity in a day. Their voltage is too much low and now work is done on that voltage, even it does not charge mobile.
Also, the poverty level is a spike. According to one report, Balochistan is top in poverty in Asia. When the incumbent govt. came into power the inflation rate increased by the day. Poor families are worried about bread and butter. The Covid-19 exacerbated the situation more adversely. All the earnings sources have closed owing to Covid 19 spread. Poor families could not afford the huge fees of schools in the traditional way. Because in Pakistan, school is not an education institution rather it has become a business center. Masooma khan is a student at the University of Gujarat and her father is a driver. She told me, my father pays 55000 per semester. It is very difficult for her father to pay huge fees for her education. Her father deserves a 21 gun salute for this task. He is sweating blood to earn some money to pay her daughter’s fees. He knows education is the sine qua non of survival in society.
Now the education system is online, therefore every student needs a laptop, tab, or Android mobile for attending the online classes. Furthermore, strong Internet signal and electricity are needed as well. Regrettably, Pakistan is not well developed in technology. Thus this system is not working well in Pakistan. The remote areas’ students are facing these problems too much. Also, the universities are receiving the same fees as they were receiving in physical classes. This is one of the major issues of students. Because there is a lot of differences between online and physical education teaching. Now students are facing immense problems online because universities are receiving full fees online as well as students buy expensive internet packages for attending online classes. All the aforementioned problems pave the way for decreasing the literacy rate. According to a report, 93000 children are expected to have permanently dropped out owing to school closure amidst Covid-19.
Yet all is not lost, reinforcing steps on an immediate basis can remove the students owes. First of all, the government should give loans and scholarships to the students which help in their study expenses. Secondly, government should reduce the University fees in the online education system. Also, there should be free internet packages for students to attend online classes. The government of Punjab should restore the reserve quota of Balochistan and FATA students. It will help in the integration among the provinces. Last but not least, government should also provide education facilities to remote areas. There are vast plans in remote areas and the government can teach students in open spaces.
The writers are students of MBA University of Gujarat