PESHAWAR: As access to Internet is not available in most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the elementary and secondary education department has proposed that students go to school for a little time once a week to learn about assignments to be done at home during the pandemic-induced restriction on in-person classes.
The proposal has formally been put up to the chief minister as a summary for approval, sources told Dawn.
They said if the summary was approved, it would apply to both government and private schools in the province.
Federal education minister Shafqat Mahmood had announced on Monday said all educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities, would be closed for in-person classes from Nov 26 as decided in a meeting of education ministers and health authorities.
Education dept proposes move in a summary over Internet issue
He, however, said home learning would take place from Nov 26 to Dec 24, while homework would be given out online where it was possible.
The minister had also announced winter break for students across the country from Dec 25 to Jan 10, 2021, and reopening of educational institutions thereafter.
The sources in the education department said online education was impossible due to the unavailability of Internet service in most parts of the province and therefore, it was proposed to call students to school once a week for the assigning of home tasks.
They said during the first wave of Covid-19 when all educational institutions were closed for over six months in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, online classes weren’t held in all government schools and most private schools due to poor or no accessibility to internet and prolonged outages.
The sources said school closures in the first virus wave led to student learning loss and therefore, the department had planned to call students turn by turn for homework.
They said under the proposal, every day of the week would be fixed for the students of a grade to visit campus to know about home tasks from teachers.
The sources said teachers would also properly guide students on how to do homework.
They said only few elite private schools could arrange virtual learning for students with laptops, computers, tablets or mobile phones.
The sources said rest of the government and private schools had no arrangements to hold online classes.
The school closure decision has drawn criticism of parents and private school owners, who insist that if wedding ceremonies are taking place, bazaars full of customers are open, there is no ban on political gatherings, why only educational institutions have been closed to the misery of students.
An official in the education department told Dawn that top bosses of the education department including minister Shahram Khan Tarakai were opposed to school closures but they gave in to the ‘pressure’ of the federal government.
He said the closure of educational institutions and tuition centres for in-person classes would notified on Wednesday.
The official also said the higher education department would issue a separate notification for the closure of public sector colleges and universities in the province.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2020