The COVID-19 crisis has tested all aspects of our lives like never before and like most things, the education sector in Pakistan has been hit and exposed badly. But if we have known one thing about education in Pakistan from the crisis, it’s that the state of affairs really, really calls for concern and concrete action. We discuss what we ought to be doing to make post-pandemic education a worthwhile effort once the disease is behind us.

LETTER Education these days – like most aspects of human life on the planet – is undergoing a period of critical transition. The traditional classroom has been replaced with a virtual one, school uniform has been out fashioned for comfy PJs, and writing assignments no more require pen and paper. This unexpected change in everyday life has come within four months of the virus first being reported in China and never did we think living would come to this.For the first time in recent history that we are experiencing a lockdown of global proportions and perhaps it is the first time that the flow of education has been disrupted to this extent. The UNICEF estimates that close to 1.5 billion schoolchildren around the world face loss of learning as schools in over 191 countries have been ordered shut to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The long term impact of the virus-driven lockdown is yet to be fully understood, however, one thing is clear, that it is high time we rethink what education truly entails.

The Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) Shafqat Mahmood on Thursday said that the government was considering launching a Radio Education program to magnify its distance learning project across the country.

One of the most dominant and widespread examples of the radio education program is known as the “Farm Radio Forum.” It was started in Canada in 1941 and served as a model which was adopted subsequently in a number of developing countries.

Since then, Radio has been used extensively as an educational medium in developing countries. Published reports confirm that it has supported educational programs in a wide range of subject areas and in many different countries.

While speaking to a private news channel Shafqat stated that the federal government wanted to strengthen the existing Tele-education system by including a feedback mechanism to facilitate the students. The system for online education for the higher classes would also be improved with the passage of time, the minister commented.

Earlier, the government had launched a Tele-School program across Pakistan to impart education to students amid the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Answering a question, the education minister said the National Coordination Committee (NCC) would take the final decision in regards to the reopening of educational institutions after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s approval.

“I think it is not possible to open school now, pandemic would likely hit its peak in May as the experts have predicted so,” he added.

Related: PM To Launch Tele-school Today