Karachi: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, each fabric of the society got affected, education is not an exception. To overcome this loss, Higher Education Commission (HEC) directed universities to launch online classes and e-learning for graduate students. This strategy is though the last option but seems to be more face-saving than bringing real changes in the prospect of students.
Referring to the ongoing online dental education classes, Ms Aneeqa Aslam, Founder and President Pakistan Association Dental Students (PADS) said that the materialisation of e-learning and online courses without the provision of necessities regarding online teaching system is the negation of the former. Ensuring equal facilities to all the students is the fundamental duty of HEC and authorities concerned with top echelon decision making.
She was speaking at a live session organised by Dental News. Speakers who participated in the event are Saeed Anwar, General Secretary PADS, Taj Mohammad, Officer for Coordination PADS, Gosia Zubair, Coordinator PADS, M Anas Naseem. Officer for Coordination PADS, Mehroz Ahmad Khan. Director of External Relations PADS and Shumaila Maryum, Editor PADS.
Students expressed their views on what issues they are facing during online education and what steps can be taken to improve them. The moderator for the event was Dr Muattar Hanif.
Panellists were representing the voice of dental students from different parts of Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Gilgit Baltistan, Multan, Quetta, Peshawar. During the interaction series of questions were asked from the panellists. And they were given full opportunity to speak about the issues such as teachers’ training and university management.
Panellists told that students don’t have books or proper content material available to study. They stressed that due to poor internet connection, many students were not able to attend lectures properly. And even if they can join the lecture, there is a lot of disturbance and distraction.
“Many students are from remote areas and they don’t have access to the internet,” said Saeed Anwar.
The primary issue highlighted was the difference between the approach of public and private institutes towards the education system. “Unfortunately, most of the public sector universities and institutes don’t have any plan or roadmap to conduct online classes. Whereas private institutes were using different software and platforms on which students can even see practical simulations by their teacher,” told Taj Muhammad.
“Students stress level has increased because of assignments load and attendance issues,” said Gosia Zubair.
Moreover, Ms Aneeqa Aslam told that because of poor online education, students have zero experience of skills and practices because there is no contact with the patients and no time to interact with teachers. “Universities are focusing more on theoretical knowledge rather than practical work,” she highlighted.
In the end, students requested universities to take serious measures to have an efficient system and provide proper training to students and as well as teachers to improve the teaching methods and avoid the communication gap.