SWAT: Female students say their educational institutions have failed to put in place a proper e-learning system during the lockdown because of which they face numerous problems in studying their courses online.

Due to closure of educational institutions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the education system has shifted from physical to virtual everywhere.

However, in Pakistan, this shift is rather slower and relatively ineffective. Unfortunately, the authorities have failed to establish an effective e-learning system which has hampered the students’ learning.

Digital learning is not a novel thing for the world. It was in practice in some countries even before the pandemic. After the complete closure of schools and colleges during the pandemic, most of the countries switched to e-learning to ensure the continuity of education.

In Pakistan, the lack of proper digital platforms and equipment has damaged students’ education with many having no computers for attending online classes. Similarly, in rural areas, bad internet connection is a major hurdle.

Uzma, a student of BS English, said she did not have access to the internet due to which she faced difficulty in joining online classes and downloading the lectures. “We used to do group discussions in our physical classes, which is now not possible in the lockdown,” she said.

She said her college did not have a proper learning management system and their teachers only shared recorded lectures which was not effective.

“Our teachers send us lectures through WhatsApp in which we cannot clear our confusions regarding many points,” Laiba, a student of BS zoology, said.

Many students said they were not allowed to use mobile phones, computers, or internet which was a serious impediment for them in e-learning.

Students also find it hard to manage their time as the recorded lectures they receive require a lot of time and self-study. It is particularly a harder job for the girls who have to manage their studies along with doing household chores.

Andaleeb Akhtar, a student of BS English, said there used to be a proper timetable for classes at her college, but in online classes, the teachers sent lectures at their convenience, so the students could not keep track of their lectures which greatly troubled them in examinations.

“There is no fixed timing for online classes with many students remaining offline when teachers send lectures, thus they fail to ask questions from them,” Mahnoor, a student of BS psychology, said. She further added due to a lack of proper schedule, students’ confusions in one lecture was not yet cleared that another began.

Hafsa, a student of BS English, said last year, following the complete closure of colleges, both mid-term and final term examinations were held combined which not only burdened the students but also messed up their results.

Learning management systems are being utilised by universities throughout the world, but Pakistan still lags far behind in it.

Instead of working on establishing proper learning management systems for their students, most of the schools and colleges have started using WhatsApp, Zoom and other such apps for delivering lectures online.

The students demanded of the government that it was high time the educational institutes established proper learning management systems, which was the best alternative to in-person learning during lockdown.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2021

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