by Shah Rukn-e-Alam We must…
by Sana Faizal
Covid-19 disrupted the academic year, cancelled examinations and classes forcing universities and students to rely on apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Teams.
This is an unprecedented moment for humanity, but we have no choice but to respond to this virus that has so completely changed our lives.
No one was ready for this, no one expected the loss of human connection, and no one wanted to or was ready to sacrifice that human to human connection that has been lost in these isolated online classes. But we have to make do with what we have.
Will finds a way. My father was a shopkeeper; I grew up in the backward area of rural Sindh with high aims in life. My father moved us from to the city so we could get a better education. We lived in a rented house for almost 12 years. My father got me admitted into one of the finest colleges, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology. I got my primary and secondary education there. I burnt midnight oil to achieve my goals. I have always been an ambitious and energetic girl whether it was sports, academics or presentations. I saw the women in my country being killed, raped, and tortured in their homes, people neglected their education and barely let them have a say on the decisions that governed their lives. They we denied political participation and, they were denied the right to influence laws, and policies and popular culture prohibited them from equal access to land, property and housing. As I grew up watching such the cruelties and hardships girls faced in this country, I developed a dauntless iron will and determination to become a women’s rights activist to help out Pakistani women.
For that I asked my father that I wanted to do LLB. At the first he denied and forced me to do MBBS. It took almost 6 months to convince him then he allowed me.
I belong to an environment where education has no standard. Not a single father wants his daughter to go far from the home for the sack of education. Personally I know many girls having dreams to study in their choice of universities, but their fathers don’t allow them. Every single day I saw young girls sacrificing their dreams in front of their family. Every single parent has so many insecurities in order to grow their female child. It is not their fault but of this system where a female is insecure at this level that even she cannot study outside the home. Despite having a mind full of insecurities and facing financial problems I rose in spite of the odds and the stereotypes. I’m a proud daughter of a proud father who has a big heart. I am very thankful to him and that he trusted me rather than the people around him.
Following my vision, I moved to Islamabad to get an admission in to one of the finest universities of Pakistan: Quaid e Azam University Islamabad. Unfortunately I could not make it to Quaid I Azam University. But, I didn’t give up. I managed to get admitted in to a diploma course at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI). Living in private hostels for the first time at the age of seventeen, 974 km away from home was much very challenging for me as I dreamt so big, I knew I had to suffer and prepared myself for more hardships. I appeared in the entrance test of BA LLB SHARIAH & LAW at IIUI in2018. Alhamdulillah with the grace of Allah Almighty I passed the test with flying colors. My father was so overjoyed and he was so proud when he heard the news. He appreciated me for what I did and asked me to do more in future. My journey started here. Law as asubject deeply fascinates me. My friends started contacting me from the day I got selected. I started encouraging many girls, who I knew had potential and and I offered them any kind of help they wanted or needed.
With the time, everything was going well. We were preparing for midterm examinations and suddenly corona came. Hostel administration issued the notification in which it was mentioned that every student must vacant their rooms within 24hours and hostels are going to be closed as per HEC orders. My roommates left me alone and moved for their homes. I stayed that night and moved for sindh the very next day. Everything was all of sudden. Government announced strict lockdown for a month and it went on for almost 3 months. The ratio of unemployment increased with the increasing situation. My father was very upset as he do not had any other way to run the house. Problems increased when HEC ordered the universities to take online classes.
Personally attending online classes has had its ups and downs. I have come to realize how hard it is to run a house in this lockdown. How difficult it is for a father who is just a shopkeeper, who has to pay his dues and having to support four kids, each studying in a different school and university. Despite facing great financial problems, my father has made sure to pay for our education. This has taken a toll on him; whether he is sick or healthy he works hard for his kids so we can get a better education.
Every day students are protesting against the online classes because they lack facilities. As far as I know, in this world of technology every university student owns a gadget. Even then they make excuses about not having facilities. I belong to a middle class family with a small house with two rooms in it, and it is very difficult for me to stay in a room where electricity constantly comes and goes. I hurt to have to keep asking my family to keep quiet and to not disturb me while I am attending online classes. One upside of this process is I have kind off learned to mute the background noise. At first, I stood with students in protest, but when I think of my father who is about fifty years old, working in the scorching heat 12 hours a day without any rest, who am I to make these excuses? God forbid, this Covid crisis keeps getting prolonged, should we just sit on our hands and do nothing? Shall we waste our academic years waiting for corona to end?
There are however many unresolved issues regarding online classes.
- HEC should provide 4G internet to students living in the remote areas who have been deprived of access to the internet
- Teachers must be recognize the difficulties students are facing and decrease the workload.
- Semester fees must be halved
Despite knowing that it is very hard to manage, I suggest every student to just have a think about their future and to think about their parents. Get out of your comfort zone and try to keep moving with the times. We should recognize that it is not just difficult for students but also for the teachers. Our teachers have also suffering from the very first day. I hope the Covid crisis ends soon and we get back to our routines. Stay home, stay healthy, pray, work hard and hope for the best!