Even before the coronavirus pandemic, education in Sindh was already suffering. Powerful stakeholders were successful in getting support from the federal government to open their businesses. However, it is clear that many only pay lip service to education. The poorer majority do not understand the value of education and remain indifferent to it. Moreover, it is in the interest of the elite for the majority to remain uneducated and continue to enjoy a monopoly on the high salaried job market themselves. Children hailing from privileged households have access to high-speed internet and the requisite technology to continue their education online. It is apparent that the situation presented by the virus is not going to return to normalcy anytime soon. Those dedicated to the education of our youth must devise ways in which to adapt to online education and its accessibility.

Challenges present themselves, but a start should be made nonetheless. A majority of children do not have access to smartphones, computers or tablets. Those children and their parents with neither of these should be contacted via the phone for individual sessions, perhaps in groups of two or three students with the option of an outgoing conference call. This weekly impartation of knowledge will encourage students to remain engaged and continue to work towards their studies.

The Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) has developed an online homework scheme and are distributing print copies to students with no internet access, later collecting them and delivering them to the respected custodians. A successful model of this may be implemented at primary, middle and secondary school levels. Through trial and error, more innovative strategies may be developed whilst attributes of discipline may be encouraged in students who are compelled to follow their own guidelines for completing their work. The challenges we face due to the pandemic must be seen as opportunities to help develop and revolutionize education for time immemorial.

GULSHER PANHWER,

Johi.