PESHAWAR - While the coronavirus pandemic has confined people to their homes amid the ongoing lockdown, the use of information technology has tremendously increased in the country. Many citizens, whether working for the government or pri­vate sectors, have started increas­ingly using the Internet working from home while many govern­ment departments have also start­ed relying more on the IT.

Speaking to The Nation, KP Chief Minister’s Advisor on Science and Information Technology Ziaul­lah Bangash said that nowadays there was social distancing be­ing observed and other protocols for coronavirus pandemic, many of their staff of the Science and IT Department have started working from home via the Internet, except those whose presence is necessary at the office.

“Also, many meetings of the gov­ernment departments have been converted to video-conferencing with the aim of containing the vi­rus,” said Ziaullah Bangash, who has been elected as member of the provincial assembly from Kohat district. He also said that for the Ehsaas Program, a software was created within two days as part of the government efforts to provide relief funds to deserving families in the province.

“Overall, the chief minister also prefers videoconferencing where needed amid the ongoing corona­virus pandemic,” he added.

Similarly, many students and teachers have also started attend­ing online classes amid the lock­down. Some universities have an­nounced online classes while many others though announced advanced summer vacations to save students’ academic sessions amid the lockdown but they also have started preparing online lec­tures nowadays. Abdul Wali Khan University Director Admissions, Dr Attique, said that the university administration had asked its facul­ty to prepare online lectures.

“Although advanced summer va­cations have been announced in KP till May 31, our university is working on lectures and course materials for students in advance, so that we are able to start online classes in case the lockdown is ex­tended beyond May 31,” Dr Attique said. He also said that the universi­ty had also arranged free courses for students from Coursera, which is a platform for educational mate­rial from western professors and academicians available online.

“We are also working on a Learn­ing Management System, which would be a platform for online les­sons and also an online exam sys­tem in the future,” he added.

Danish Babar, a deputy direc­tor of KP IT Board, told this cor­respondent that the Board had trained over 5000 students on mo­bile applications, software, pro­gramming, designing, etc under the Youth Employment Program since its establishment in the year 2013. “Basically, the KP IT Board provides technical support to oth­er departments when needed,” he added.