PESHAWAR                    -             While coronavirus pandem­ic has forced people to adopt isolation and social distanc­ing measures, the universi­ties are facing the challenge of how to save students’ academ­ic session, prompting several universities to launch online classes.

Abdul Wali Khan University is considered to be the first one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that has experimented with the online classes recently.

AWKUM’s Director Admis­sions Dr Attique told The Na­tion yesterday that online class­es are necessary in order to save students’ time from get­ting wasted.

“We are using zoom applica­tion on mobile phones and lap­tops. A teacher gets online at the time that he is allocated in the time table and shares his class web link with students in a Whatsapp group. Then each student, having installed the Zoom App, enters the online class by clicking on that web link,” he added.

Ali Imran, a spokesman for the University of Peshawar, told this correspondent that the univer­sity administration was mulling ways to save students’ time, but he said the online classes are not feasible for all students due to Internet connectivity issues in many areas.

“The Peshawar University management is thinking about various options. One is that the coming summer vacations may be used to make up for the classes that are nowadays be­ing missed due to locking of the city,” he added.

Kamran Khan, a retired pub­lic servant, said that his three daughters are also enrolled for online courses at various uni­versities and he liked the idea of online education. “It is a ben­efit of online education that you save your time by only attending classes online, instead of com­muting to a university,” he add­ed.

He, however, said that the in­ternet issue may be a problem for those students who hail from far off areas where Inter­net is not available.

A student, Fatima Saeed, from AWKUM, said that she along with her classmates attended online classes recently, but she added that online classes were not that much helpful to students.

“We are afraid that at the end of the online classes’ semes­ter, many students may fail the exam,” she said, adding that the best way is to give students a semester break and later rejoin university when once the coro­navirus threat subsides.

Speaking to The Nation, Chairman of the Board of In­termediate and Secondary Edu­cation, Bahawalpur, Dr Mazhar Saeed, said that if the online classes provide an opportuni­ty to the students and ask ques­tions and interact, then it is fine. However, he said, it is of little benefit if students cannot interact.

“Because of the coronavi­rus pandemic, we can cover the delay in [current] academ­ic session by either taking ex­tra classes once the institu­tions reopen or by extending the ongoing academic session into the [coming] summer va­cations,” said Dr Mazhar, who previously served as Director General Planning and Develop­ment at the Higher Education Commission.