Change is the only constant phenomenon ever existent in the world. It is permanent in nature and makes the weakest extinct and the strongest prominent. The last twenty years carry a revolutionary evolution in their bosom; mind-boggling for its witnesses and a case study for the incoming. Technology for the layman’s understanding has attained its zenith and his mind cannot decipher any further advancement. Advanced nations have made the maximum use of the brain drain of developing nations by cleverly manipulating its policies, making them lucrative enough for them to serve, settle, and streamline their economies. Keeping in mind this scenario, a natural calamity would definitely have a recessive effect on the developed countries due to their capability to deal with the emergent issues. Covid-19, an unforeseen pandemic, could never have been predicted. But, the methodologies to control, fight, and defeat this gigantic contagion clearly reflect the strength of a nation. The developing countries like Pakistan have to strive really hard to cope with the effects of the pandemic, which has left the health system to crumble.

Apart from the economy which depends largely on business, the education sector has also received a blow not easy to heal. Multiple private institutions have closed their set-ups, depriving many of jobs and leaving students stranded to fend for themselves. Big giants, who over the years have established their market value, have not only laid off excessive staff but have adopted a strategy to work with the minimum, besides reducing the salary of its staff.

Parents who have been educating their children for the last six or seven months are now desperately praying for the pandemic to settle so that their wards can attend their respective institutions. Online classes-a substitute for regular schooling- have picked up its pace with its pros and cons.

Majority opine online learning a formative way to seek knowledge, provided it is used effectively and efficiently. Web learning provides a vast platform to keep oneself abreast of the research work being done in different fields. But this is true for higher degrees; the lower grades may get confused with the humongous material available online. HSSC & SSC students need focused lectures with sifted information duly presented by deftly trained teachers. Such is the vulnerable stage of these youngsters that they get easily deluded. Instead of attending online classes, the majority end up with excessive usage of social applications. Children up to grade 8 need constant parental supervision and their attention span is so flimsy that the teacher feels helpless to exert her full control over the class. In such a scenario, it is extremely difficult to supervise the class in its true spirit and have the maximum output.

The impeding factors of online learning include the irregular supply of electricity in many areas of the country, disrupted internet connection along with its affordability, and a lack of expert teachers who can handle online classes efficiently and the seriousness of the students who really want to learn despite multiple distractions. Challenges which teachers face in the present scenario are:

i) to make lectures captivating so that the learners stay glued to the screen and learn positively.

ii) to devise ways to control the class effectively without any disruption and misbehaviour on the part of the students.

iii) to have the maximum output from the students by devising the tests which primarily address the reasoning ability of the learners.

Comparatively, the challenges which the learners face in online classes include:

i) to keep themselves accustomed to the new way of attending the class without the physical presence and command and control of the teacher.

ii) to inflict self-discipline to keep themselves focused to the objective of the lesson without being allowed to multifarious distractions in the form of social media and online games.

In a nutshell, despite all odds, the smartest and the most convenient alternative available to carry on the process of education can be none other than online learning. Where Covid-19 has closed so many corridors, it has opened some new ones simultaneously. Now the majority of parents and teachers have developed an understanding of the dynamics of online learning and with the passage of time, things will get better as the loopholes in every system can be overcome by deft handling and smart policymaking. The education sector, though neglected, will definitely come up with new horizons to explore and the educationists will get trained to cope up with the challenges of the modern world.

KHAULA SHAHID,

Rawalpindi.