University students across Pakistan gathered outside the Higher Education Commission (HEC) office in Islamabad on 15th June to demand the closure of online classes. They have protested multiple times in the past but their rights were never fulfilled. Online classes have proven to be a non-workable strategy in Pakistan due to some students not having access to the internet and others simply being miscreants.
The Universities implemented online classes in such a way that it caused depression for many students. Students with rich backgrounds and latest gadgets, obviously do not suffer like those from remote areas like ex-FATA and Balochistan where internet and telecom signals are limited. It seems like open discrimination rather than helping students achieve their aspirations.
Why Are Students Fed Up Of Taking Online Classes
Universities are trying to judge students based on internet connectivity and online availability through online classes. It means, Universities care about only those students who keep following their senseless rules quietly and pay fees in full regardless of the University’s input during the pandemic. Students have been using their personal resources to appear in an online class.
Previously, students demanded a semester break to get rid of online classes. Therefore, it does not make sense for any University to demand full fees from the student. In fact, if universities really cared about the future of students, they would only charge the lecturer’s salary by dividing it on all students in a class.
Students faced terrible issues with the internet during online classes. Now, they want universities to promote them without taking any exams. This protest is also a chance for these so-called universities to reflect on their mission about teaching people. They need to clarify what they want more during this pandemic: eliminate the issues of students or keep ignoring them as long as they are getting their money. People stand with students on social media and demand that university students must be promoted as well like college and school students.
Protests Outside HEC Office
Protestors are raising a question for the education commission that vows to educate people but what about their rights of studying peacefully, will HEC also address them?
Students have a major responsibility to apply their knowledge in various sectors and help develop Pakistan but unfortunately it’s not happening due to other factors in play. Are these students so mentally disturbed by the education systems that they are not in a position to fulfill expectations.
Students have acted valiantly even in the face of authority. Riot police of Islamabad blocked roads which posed an increased danger to demonstrators. Yet, they have decided to stay put and demand their rights.
Protests in Other Areas
Protests against online classes are not limted outside HEC office in Islamabad. Instead students of the marginalized area who are actually suffering are also protesting for their rights in their respective regions.
Support By Social Media
In these trying times for the students, people on social media are standing with the protesting students and hoping their rights will be acknowledged. Many students have noted a drop in performance ever since they joined online class.
One user shared how mainstream universities are acting with those of the marginalized areas. They have instructed that if the power goes out the internet stops working, it will be the student’s responsibility. It means that if WAPDA or PTCL decides to have fun by shutting their services (a regular occurrence in Pakistan) then the poor student will be marked as failed.
Unfortunately the education system in Pakistan is not capable of applying online classes in the first place. It was a false confidence just like many other decisions by the government and semi-government departments. Internationally, online classes are successful due to proper infrastructure of internet and telecom and students are also trained to study individually by using several available resources unlike Pakistan.