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Balochistan Students Protest HEC’s Online Classes Over Lack Of Internet Access

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QUETTA: A number of students from Balochistan staged a demonstration against online classes being organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), saying they must first be provided with internet connectivity.

The protest was held in front of the Quetta Press Club on Wednesday and attended by students of several organisations. They chanted slogan against the HEC and demanded the government to provide 3G, 4G service in remote areas. The participants were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans calling for an increase in the education budget.

Addressing the participants, Convener Student Action Committee, Muzamil Khan said people in Balochistan lack basic life amenities, even clean water in several areas. How could the HEC impose the decision of online classes without providing internet in the districts, he questioned and also pointed out 18-hour load-shedding in the province.

According to Muzamil, teachers are unfamiliar with online teaching tools, adding that the fee of online learning is the same as live classes, whereas universities around the globe have lowered their fee. If there is no usage of transportation and electricity, how could the students be asked to pay the fee in full, he asked.

Zonal Secretory of Pashtun Students Organization (PSO) Kabir Afghan said the HEC sees Gawadar, Musakhail, and other district of Balochistan through the lens of their Islamabad office. The dilemma, he added, is “we are demanding electricity and internet in the 21st century.”

Baloch Students Organisation’s Changez Baloch lamented that the students are the most vulnerable section of the society. The current cut in educational budget, that too at a time when only two percent get access to higher education, speaks volumes of the priorities of the rulers, he maintained.

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He said any decisions without taking the students of remote areas in confidence will further widen the gap between the Centre and the province.

Protest rallies were organized in various districts of Balochistan participated by different universities that protested lack of the said facilities and receiving of the full fee.

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