Balochistan’s Students’ Discontent with Online Classes

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Hafeezullah Kakar
On 24 June 2020, the students of Balochistan recorded a protest against the online classes in front of the Balochistan Provincial Assembly. Their outcry was carried by the endeavor to put an end to the online classes. They raised their voice against the Higher Education Commission (HEC) through a peaceful protest to stop online classes due to internet service problems in the far-dwelling areas of Balochistan. Although the protest was peaceful but soon the protestors were detained by the police. The students were put inside lockups which exposed the uncongenial environment for peaceful protests.
Online classes are proving to be conducive to some of the students who have access to fast internet service. Even many of the students from rural areas of Balochistan are destitute of internet access. Slow internet connection and absence of signal in many areas have been claimed by the students even from the capital city Quetta.
Those students who can’t tackle the problem succumbed to the issue which mars their studies. Students from Killa Saifullah, Punjgur, Turbat, Gwadar, Quetta, and some other areas have marched and protested against online classes, which is a clear manifestation that the students’ educational career is at risk.
The other major and extolling issue is the payment of fees by the students for online classes. The students have claimed that the fees they had to pay for universities included many other things which gobble up to become full fee of the semester. Other things are referred to as the library fee, security fee, bus’s fee, internet Wi-Fi fee, sports fee, etc. But in online classes, students are only provided with tuition, not the other facilities to be mentioned. The universities are charging the students with full fees which includes all other things which are aforementioned.
Besides the mark, the students are tormented while paying a high amount of money for internet bundles for their online classes weekly or monthly. The students demanded, if universities stop charging them with fees, they would be able to bear the cost of the internet with their semester’s fee. The students also listen to recorded lectures which cost them extra MBs of the internet. It might be not a problem for the people with privileges but those who can’t pay for the internet are enduring a predicament.
Apart from connectivity issues, the learning capability of students in online classes stands in stark contrast to the classes’ lectures. Online classes have been proving as less expedient due to less perception of the virtual system for most of the students especially for those who belong to rural areas.
The communication gap between the teacher and the student makes online classes more one-sided. Sometimes the teacher is unable to understand the actual sense of the question and he or she might not address the way the student is asking the question. More than often the students do not understand what the teacher is actually delivering to the class. When it comes to teaching graphs and charts online, or if it is mathematical questions, it becomes more challenging for both the teacher and the students.
The timings of the classes add another reason to the compunction of the students. They face mismanagement of classes’ timing. Some students have claimed that their classes are not on auspicious timings which creates turbulence in their daily-routine.
Owing to the issues confronting the students of Balochistan, the government should address such issues. The decrease in fees should be considered while making a shrewd educational policy. The universities should be emphasized to not only provide a concession in the fees but to formulate a policy to exonerate the poor students from paying semester fees.
The government should peruse the difficulties and should formulate a nimble strategy to tackle the issue that Balochistan’s students are facing. Education is an important factor for the subsistence of a peaceful and progressive Pakistan.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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