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Educational Institutions Must Rise To The Covid-19 Challenge

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Anum Malik highlights the role of universities during the on-going pandemic. She argues that educational institutions need to adapt to save time, bring change.

Covid-19 left almost every institution in massive trouble globally, including hospitals, malls, gyms, schools, and universities. But as other institutions found ways of fighting against this deadly pandemic, so did educational institutions.

Countries are opening their schools and universities gradually with precautionary measures, after arranging online classes for students for a long time. Where online classes were trouble for many teachers and students, a lot of students also enjoyed this scenario by skipping online classes or making funny memes and videos regarding their experience of online classes. It was more like a comic relief amid a pandemic.

Pakistan is still in the grip of coronavirus. Things have improved a bit but there is still a looming danger that if people did not cooperate then the situation might get worse again. A few offices have opened but people are still working in shifts, shops are not open 24/7 like before, parks and gyms are still mostly closed.

Due to this virus, educational institutions in Pakistan were also closed and a lot of schools and universities managed to arrange online classes for students. The Pakistani government also issued a learning program for school-going children. This programme was aired on state channel PTV (Pakistan Television) so that students could learn while sitting at home and do not waste their time. Colleges and universities also arranged online classes and tried their best to engage students in studies, as this pandemic might take time and we cannot waste more time of students.

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The role played by Sargodha University during these crucial times is worth mentioning here. They managed to arrange online classes using Zoom and WhatsApp. They introduced the e-learning management system (LMS)  (it allowed faculty to upload course outlines and reading material) to the students.

They also formed a Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) Task Force to make sure the quality of online education system. The administration cooperated with students by giving them a chance to freeze their spring semesters if they have got internet availability issues.

Access to the digital library was given to the students using HEC digital library and Lincoln Corner digital resources. Not only this, but Sargodha Medical College also took measures to facilitate general public by launching Telemedicine Center, forming Corona Isolation wards, establishing field hospitals, converting hostels into quarantine centers, donating 3000 masks to the district administration, opening university pharmacy for the local community, spreading awareness through university radio channel i.e FM 98.2 and last but not the least, providing online services to students and public regarding educational matters through their Facilitation Center.

These efforts must be appreciated and adopted by other educational institutions as well. These actions will make our students realise that their only responsibility is not to study but to play their due role in bringing a positive change in our society, as they are among those lucky ones who get a chance to study and make a change.

Our educational institutions are a source of representation of our country to the rest of the world so they must be at the forefront when the country gets hit by a difficult time and they must adapt to bring the positive changes

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Naya Daur