Pakistan: Education crisis

Pakistan/ 04 August, 2021/ Source/ https://www.dawn.com/

By Inayat Ullah Khattak

The writer is chair, Department of English (Graduate Studies) at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.

WE are already into the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Delta variant has been declared by leading medical experts as the fastest, the fittest and the most formidable version of the coronavirus. What’s next is yet to be seen. What’s known is that far from being over, the pandemic is hitting us harder than before. One of the casualties is education, especially at the primary, middle and tertiary level.

With over 1.5 billion learners impacted worldwide due to school closures in 192 countries, the educational crisis caused by Covid-19 may worsen as the Delta variant spreads. The matter poses a greater challenge to low-income countries such as Pakistan, where, according to Unesco, 22.8 million children, aged five to 16 years, do not attend school. The staggering figure equals 41 per cent of this age group in Pakistan.

Fifteen months into the current crisis, what awaits the country’s already dismal education milieu in the current as well as the post-pandemic era, depends a great deal on what kind of strategy our policymakers devise, and with what promptness its implementation is ensured. After all, one cannot live on the hope that the pandemic will end and normalcy will return to the education landscape.

Had the Covid-19 emergency been limited to Pakistan, internationally, there would be nothing to compare it to. However, the infection has disrupted studies and led to the closure of educational institutions in several countries. The latter can learn from each other’s success stories, as well as their failures.

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