Protesters taken to the streets in Pakistan’s Balochistan when HEC announced for online classes

A huge number of students gathered in front of Karachi Press Club chanting the slogans of "HEC should resolve the issue of online classes ", and "Balochistan Needs 3g and 4g internet". Even, students from different universities have made sits on hunger strike in front of Press Club against HEC decision

Kech- All educational institutions in many countries including Pakistan have been led to the temporary shut down, considering it a preventive measure to combat further spread, amid coronavirus.
The first initiative of government of Pakistan was to stop students from going to institutions because the virus spreads through public gathering. After months of shutdown of schools, collages and universities, this sparked the interest of (HEC) Higher Education Commission to commence online classes until virus is permanently extinguished which seems extremely impossible and less supportive to the middle class families and the students residing in remote areas of Balochistan.

Education in Balochistan shaping forms of its being beyond the approach of middle class families, has always been too expensive to attain. From schools to open sky, from government sector to private sector, from traditional classes to online classes, there always been hardships for the poverty-stricken people residing in remote areas considering education not a birthright for everyone but for the most moneyed ones.
Moreover, the recent decision of Higher Education Commission (HEC) of conducting online classes is direct violation to the academic frame where hundreds of students belonging to remote areas including whole Makran division are found poor in access to the internet without which conduction of online classes seem nothing more but a joke and a violation. However, hundreds of students have become depressed and tortured because of this decision.

Mobile Internet from Kech (Turbat) was suspended since 2017. From then on, students belonging to the region have no access to internet. No internet means no updates, no information, no awareness. While, country’s top universities make a great number of enrollment of the students hailing from Makran who have transported to their homes-villages amid pandemic outbreak which experienced the country a tight lockdown.

Every urban and suburban areas of the country should receive access of internet to run online classes. Turbat, Gwader and Panjgor are the epicenters of students majority where huge number of students are enrolled in universities, having no 3g and 4g.

Mobile Internet from Kech (Turbat) was suspended since 2017. From then on, students belonging to the region have no access to internet. No internet means no updates, no information, no awareness. While, country’s top universities make a great number of enrollment of the students hailing from Makran who have transported to their homes-villages amid pandemic outbreak which experienced the country a tight lockdown.
Being advanced and thinking on education is really beholden act from the state. But, before holding online classes, great efforts have got to be made on internet restoration on immediate basis. Every urban and suburban areas of the country should receive access of internet to run online classes. Turbat, Gwader and Panjgor are the epicenters of students majority where huge number of students are enrolled in universities, having no 3g and 4g. These areas should be facilitated as soon as possible if HEC doesn’t deny its decision of conducting online classes.

To maintain a strong literacy rate, HEC’s decision is valued, but there should be ears to listen the students sitting on hunger strike in front of Karachi Press Club demanding the cancellation of the online classes. They demand whether HEC should take its decision of online classes back or the state should make internet accessed everywhere in the province. They call this decision an extreme threat to their academic life where many students have decided to freeze the semesters due to the following reason.

Online classes mean to facilitate the students to have classes amid shutdown of institutions. If the facilitation seems a violation to the students, then why there is a force to do that? HEC should cancel its decision of conducting online classes.

 

Sher jan P. Shohaz is a freelance columnist from Balochistan, Pakistan. He tweets at @SheraanRind

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