The 2019-20 pandemic coronavirus is producing a widespread socio-economic impact almost in every aspect of life throughout the world. This deadly disease has so far affected more than 3.85 million people and caused about 270K deaths in almost all countries of the world. In the absence of any cure or treatment, most countries are following the strategy of “lockdown” and isolating the infected patients. The lockdown no doubt, will help in preventing the expansion of this wild disease but has also raised new consequences.

Education was one of the very first sectors to be affected by this lockdown. All types of educational institutes have been closed and educational activities are almost at a standstill position. The worldwide closure has impacted almost 90 percent of the students in 188 countries.

In Pakistan the closure of educational institutes has recently extended to 15th July 2020. Pakistan is a developing country and most of its citizens are middle and lower income people, so most students lack internet facilities. Most educational institutes lack proper technical resources that support proper learning management systems. Due to all these reasons, our educational status is left cold. Most institutes use the Zoom application for online classes and meetings. This app is limited only up to 40 minutes. All the members are allowed to speak during the class that can disturb the whole class. Most students can barely speak, listen and broadcast due to weak and slow internet connections.

Some institutes are using LMS that proved far better thank Zoom. But every effort the government attempts always goes in vain because the problem is particularly grave for students living in marginal rural areas like Gilgit-Baltistan, Baluchistan, and AJK. Consequently, there has been much cry on social media during the past four weeks, using hashtags #WeRejectOnlineClasses, #HEC_StopOnlineClasses, and #StopOnlineClasses, etc., which remained top twitter trends in Pakistan. The major concerns of students are poor internet connectivity, costly internet packages, lack of gadgets, etc.

Our online classes plan is not going well so it will be better for the government to accept the appeal of a semester break as long as coronavirus surrounds us. Because the problem is not only with the universities but also with the students lacking internet facilities.

SEPEDAHA-E-BENAZEER IQRA RATHORE,

Islamabad.