We are now at that stage in facing the coronavirus pandemic that states have begun to understand just what types of lasting damage it will leave behind even once a vaccine is developed and the disease is brought under control. And though the most obvious victim of all the uncertainty that has gripped the world right now is the global economy, governments are also realising that while economies will eventually get back on their feet, the damage done to students because of a sudden cut-off in their schooling might never be completely remedied. It turns out that the pandemic has put about 1.6 billion students out of schools across the world, and in Pakistan the education of approximately 40 million students is being affected.
This threatens to become a long-term problem. How, for example, are children going to make up for all the time lost, especially if the second wave forces another closure of schools around the world and the development of a vaccine takes a long time? A number of schools have successfully shifted to online learning, which is admirable, but that still leaves the vast majority of students without education because in most cases neither schools nor students can afford such luxuries. This, therefore, is already threatening to become a problem that could affect a whole generation.
These concerns have no doubt pushed the education ministry to delay any decision about closing schools once again, even as restrictions come into force pretty much across the board. It seems the government has decided to keep schools open for as long as possible, and only go for a shut down in an extreme emergency. It realises all the risks associated with keeping them open of course but this is a risk that needs to be taken in the larger national interest. It is more important than ever to enforce very strict implementation of all SOPs. If schools are unable to comply with this extremely important directive then the government might just be forced to pull the plug on the whole thing. Needless to say that the next few days and weeks will be very crucial and hopefully everybody concerned with keeping children in schools, especially teachers and parents, will ensure that all students follow all safety rules religiously.