Memos from Asia

Pakistan and COVID-19: Taking Online Classes in A Village without Internet

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During the COVID 19 pandemic situation, internet has become a basic necessity of life.

Can you imagine how people deal without it? Almost everything has moved online, and one of them is online education. How are students going to attend their online classes if there is no internet?

A woman wearing traditional dress sitting on wall and looking at Hunza valley in autumn season, Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan, Asia

Taking classes in a village with no internet.

Students in Gilgit Baltistan, the northern part of Pakistan, are suffering due to the lack of internet in the region.

Most of the students move to cities for their higher education. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic students had to move back to their villages as universities and student’s accommodations were closed.

Lectures and assignments moved online and it maximized agony of poor students living in the isolated region of Pakistan.

A Facebook user posted a documentary on the quest of students trying to access online classes not in their houses but walking miles, crossing rivers, climbing harsh terrains to get internet access.

Students can be seen sitting under bright sun in the hot weather just to attend their online classes.

Many students failed their exams online due to poor internet connection. Some had to freeze their terms and others simply left their universities. A user posted on Facebook his story of failing to give his exams because he did not get access to the internet.

A group of students created a platform where they started a #internet4gilgitbaltistan campaign on social media where all students shared their problems regarding internet using the hashtag.

A group was also formed with the name ‘Digital Rights Movement-GB’ on Facebook where students gathered ideas on how to resolve the issue.

The national newspaper reported a protest that was also held against the authorities where the students demanded the Higher Education Commission to cancel all online classes till internet provision in the region.

If this situation prevails there will be huge impact on the education system in Pakistan because most of the population do not have access to the internet. The BBC worklife has discussed some of its effects on the country’s digital divide in one of its articles.

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