Many countries have been affected by COVID-19 worldwide, There are currently more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries affected by school closures due to the pandemic.
In worldwide many online learning platforms are offering free access. whereas in Balochistan student have been demanding internet services.
In late February of 2017, before beginning to collect population census data, 3G/4G mobile internet services were suspended in Kech district and other districts of Balochistan. The sole reason given was “security reasons.” Over three years later, 3G/4G services remain suspended, and now the flood had ensured that even wired internet connections are no longer functioning.
Same goes with 13 other districts of Balochistan. Internet services have been suspended, due to which students during pandemic have been far away from educational institutions.
By the closure of 3G net in rural areas including Kalat Mangchar district for the last three years Mr. Haji Aziz Mughal, a senior leader of Balochistan National Party-Awami, said in a statement that the students of Kalat Mangchar have been deprived of facilities like 3G Net for the last three years.
“I have no access to the net and especially precautionary measures against epidemics such as the corona virus and new ones. People are unaware of the lucky situation and are living in the jungle. University and school are closed due to corona virus. Some students have continued their education through online but due to closure of 3G services in Kalat district Deprived of continuity” he added.
He further urge the federal and provincial governments to immediately restore the 3G network in Kalat district, keeping in view the plight of the people of Kalat and especially the student community.
A spokesman for the Baloch Students Council (Islamabad) said that the Corona, a global epidemic, has created many difficulties in human life but it has also exposed the reality of states’ claims to make human lives easier.
It is press statement to media the BSC highlighted that this global pandemic has not only endangered human lives but also the economy, education, social life are being negatively affected while the problems and issues that are emerging especially with regard to education are question marks on the state, the most important thing in educational issues after Corona. The state [Pakistan] needs to pay close attention to is the education system. The education system is divided into two parts; the first is the elite class where the students do not face any kind of difficulties. The other system is for the oppressed class where the students do not have basic facilities.
The spokesman said that the students of Balochistan belong to the downtrodden class where they do not have access to facilities like the internet in this modern age and on the other hand the state and the administration of educational institutions have started their [online] educational projects keeping in view the only interests of the elite students.
“As the government and administration planned start to run the affairs of education system online after the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, the students in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa strongly are strongly opposed to such plans as internet service is shut down in most parts of Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakhtunkhwa. After intense protests by students, the government and the educational Institutions have temporarily postponed their decisions.”
According to BSC statement, now it has come to their notice that some universities have issued regular notifications to start online classes from June 1, which, the BSC believes, is unfortunate for the students of far-flung areas who lack basic facilities and do not have internet, “while the state and the administration of educational institutions decision show that they are ignoring the downtrodden students and it exposed the bitter truth that only the elites of this country [Pakistan] are worthy of education.”
The spokesperson said that we students of Balochistan are not against modern technology or online classes, in fact, it is an encouragement that even during this epidemic we continue our education but our students [students from rural and far-flung areas] do not have basic facilities like the internet. How can they benefit from online classes?
The BSC statement emphasises that if the state [Pakistan] is serious about making the education system online for all students, then first it should restore internet service in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. At present let alone the remote areas of Balochistan or rural and mountainous areas, even Quetta – the capital of Balochistan and the large cities like Kalat, Turbat, Panjgur, Awaran, Sorab and Kohlu do not have internet facilities, so every conscious person can predict what will happen in Balochistan when the online classes will start.
“The state and the administration of educational institutions say that students who do not have internet access should freeze their semesters, this clearly means that thousands of students from all over Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan will have to freeze their semesters, which is a cause of great concern.”
The statement of the BSC added that as far as epidemics like Corona are concerned, even superpower like the US has failed to estimate it that When will this epidemic end. Hence, we students of Balochistan ask this state if this epidemic continues till next year then according to the government’s plan, we will have to freeze our four semesters? If this is an education plan of the state, then the state should clearly tell us that these universities and educational institution are for the students of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The spokesperson said, “We appeal to the government and education department of the state to reconsider this educational plan and save our academic career from being ruined. The Baloch Students Council (Islamabad) will raise its voice against this current educational project in all forums and will also launch a campaign against it on social media.”
Meanwhile, the Baloch Student Action Committee (BSAC) has started an online petition on the basis: “thousands of students throughout the country are deprived of the basic facility of internet. Government has announced the commencement of classes from June 1, 2020. Due to this policy future of many students from various areas is at stake. BSAC is conducting an online petition that @hecpkofficial should suspend online classes without basic facilitation.”
Dr. Sabiha Baloch, Central Vice Chairperson of Baloch Students Action Committee, on the launch of online classes in universities across Pakistan, on social networking site Twitter, said Starting online classes just to complete the formality is like a joke to those students who are unable to attend. Most of the regions in Balochistan & tribalareas are still deprived of internet service. Higher Education Commission (HEC) before announcing for online classes heve to look on the ground realities.