Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

Higher Education Challenge For Pakistan Under Covid-19: The Way Forward
Publication Year : 2020
Author: Zahid Asghar

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast doubt on education of the masses at the primary, secondary and tertiary level. All schools, colleges and universities in Pakistan are shutdown. More than 124 countries have closed their educational institutions either at the country level or in some regions. No one knows how long it will take as COVID-19 pandemic challenge is unique, new and global in its nature. We have very limited information what will be the likely path of the pandemic. This has posed serious challenges for the leadership to decide for the future course of action. COVID-19 has put us in a state when we do not know how to proceed, what resources will be available and what resources to allocate or what type of policies and processes our institutions should implement? According to UNESCO’s COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, Pakistan has 46.8 million affected learners due to the COVID-19 pandemic, out of which 1.9 million are enrolled at the tertiary level. These pose the most serious challenge because universities have students from the whole country and even from overseas. All those having decision-making powers, including the education ministers at both federal and provincial levels, chairman HEC, vice chancellors and universities’ administrators, must act prudently in this uncertain scenario.