Prevalent Psychological Impact and Emerging Challenges amid Covid-19 with Reference to Higher Education in Pakistan

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Dr. Kamal Haider, Dr. Masood Mashkoor Siddiqi, Dr. Muhammad Yousuf Sharjeel, Dr. Ann Samson, Rabia Ashraf


The COVID-19 pandemic forced the shutdown of schools and universities around the world, jeopardizing the studies of millions of students. E-learning became a popular alternative in these times, but its implementation in Pakistan has been plagued with myriad issues. This report aims to identify the issues that beleaguer higher education students and their parents with regards to their studies, and the psychological effects that the pandemic and these issues have had on them. The problems faced by universities and academics in effectively carrying out their work are also discussed. The academics have to shoulder the burden of carrying out their research and teaching work from their homes, deprived of access to their labs and offices. Several alternatives such as oral examinations and continuous assessment have been put forward, though it is largely dependent on the course content being tested and the resources available. This is further compounded by having to juggle their responsibilities with housework and childcare.

In order to tackle the scarcity of digital resources in impoverished areas, an alternative to the currently used solution of merit-based provision of laptops and internet dongles was suggested. The authors suggested the construction and use of specialized buildings that would serve as internet cafes, bypassing the issue of providing access to internet and electricity to multiple homes across difficult terrain. It was also suggested to use Singapore as an example on how to learn from the pandemic to prepare for any similar future incidences. Universities should develop a framework that could be used to rapidly disseminate and test their students on any similar future events.

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