Letters To The Editor

"Don't find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain." – Henry Ford

Future of education

Education has been immensely affected by the on-going digitalisation of everything the COVID-19 pandemic leashed upon the world. With schools closing down and universities moving exclusively into remote learning, teachers and professors, as well as pupils and students, have found themselves working in completely new circumstances. In many countries, the spread of COVID-19 is currently somewhat under control. Consequently, some schools may be reopened and other educational activities resumed. However, we have not seen the end of the pandemic yet. Come next term, some difficult choices will have to be made regarding how teaching will be carried out. The pandemic has made students and teachers familarise themselves with online teaching tool for remote learning. In practice, this development has a variety of consequences. To start with, the lack of training in teacher curricula is a known issue, now educational institutions need to upskill teachers to run their classes online. For students and pupils themselves, the impacts of the pandemic depend more on the level of education and unfortunately on socio-economical standing. Half of the students currently out of school do not have a working computer. Even out of those who do, many don’t have an internet connection, conditions or resilience to keep up the routine and parents either unwilling or unable to help. For young children, the situation is worse. While digital solutions can be used for learning, they are not as suitable for toddlers and certainly cannot replace the presence of a human teacher in a structured school environment. Keeping in view all these problems, the digitisation of education in the future after COVID-19 doesn’t seem like a good idea. While technology has always proven to make life easier, the idea of online education seems like going against the nature of education and teaching. So, online teaching in my opinion is a big no for future education after corona ends.

Muhammad Sami,

The resurgence of COVID-19

Coronavirus is back in large numbers across Pakistan. Since governments began to lift lockdowns at the start of September, positive cases of COVID-19 have been steadily increasing in cities that previously had the spread of the disease under control. And with no known treatment or vaccine available, experts warn that an extensive lifting of controls could spark a second – and perhaps deadlier – wave of a pandemic that has so far sickened more than five million people and caused more than 330,000 related deaths. Indeed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has repeatedly urged countries to be cautious about easing coronavirus-related restrictions, warning that a premature lifting could lead to an uncontrolled resurgence in transmission and an amplified second wave of cases. For that reason, decision-makers should waste no time in making preparations for a second wave. Strict adherence to health and safety protocols, including physical distancing rules and availability of face marks, is seen as paramount, as is equipping medical facilities and healthcare workers with the tools needed to fight the disease when there is a new spike in infections. We can be ready for the second wave of the pandemic by ensuring that hospital capacity is sufficient, that personal protective equipment supplies are adequate, the diagnostic testing is readily available, and that health departments have the ability to do contact tracing. It is also very important that people get their influenza vaccinations so that hospitals can limit the number of people that require hospitalisation for influenza. Governments also need to develop strategies on how to reimpose preventive measures to manage outbreaks in real-time and to ensure adequate protection for those on the healthcare front lines. The government should warn people of a possible resurgence and should impose semi-lockdowns all across the country and make sure that people are following all possible precautionary measures.

Aliza Raza,