Impact of COVID-19 on the Education System: Local Insights from Pakistan

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Abstract

Across global COVID-19 has engulfed the educational system resulting complete closure of all schools and tertiary educational institutions. In order to response and to contain the spread of COVID-19 to the severity of the pandemic most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions including higher education. According to world health organization (WHO) as of 4 September 2020, approximately 1.277 billion learners are currently affected due to school closures in response to the pandemic. Similarly UNICEF monitoring counts that 46 countries are currently implementing nationwide closures and 27 are implementing local closures, impacting about 72.9 percent of the world's student population. 72 countries' schools are currently open. In response to school closures, UNESCO recommended the use of distance learning programmes and applications and platforms that schools and teachers can use to reach learners remotely and limit the disruption of education. Adopting the concept educational institutions in Pakistan have shifted from face to face classroom interactions to digital online technology. For instance, Tele school which is an initiative of Pakistan television network for online teaching from grade 1 to 12 and similarly Learning Management System (LMS) are some means of digital technology which the university students learn from.
This study was conducted with the 20 students (10 male and 10 female of various class and departments) of Karakorum International University and 60 students (30 male and 30 female from grade 6-10) of three higher secondary school of Tehsil Phander of Ghizer, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. In so doing group discussion with both university and school students were carried out for more than one hour in order to get their views and experiences of digital learning and sitting at home. The findings show polarized views. In one hand closures of schools and university has pushed authorities to think for innovative alternatives teaching strategies which has engaged and continued students learning at home. Particularly this system has benefited the privileged class who has the capacity to purchase gadgets (laptops and mobile etc) for having online classes. While on the other hand no exposure to the using of new alternative has put students in confusion. Also it has been disastrous for the marginalized students who have no financial capacity to buy those gadgets and take online classes. Equally important is that students have misused online session e.g
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cheating in exams and online quizzes, showing attendance without listening and many more. The students shared challenges of internet connectivity, traveling and many other challenges. The study concludes that it is fact that the COVID-19 global pandemic has shaken the world and in this regard higher education institutions and ministries should plan ahead for such unpredictable situation and expose/prepare the students to overcome the situations to happen.
School closures impact not only students, teachers, and families but have far-reaching economic and societal consequences. School closures in response to the pandemic have shed light on various social and economic issues, including student debt, digital learning, food insecurity, and homelessness, as well as access to childcare, health care, housing, internet, and disability services. The impact was more severe for disadvantaged children and their families, causing interrupted learning, compromised nutrition, childcare problems, and consequent economic cost to families who could not work.

Seminar

SeminarNational Chengchi University–Lingnan University International Research Seminar 2020
Period4/12/204/12/20

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