Closure of Educational Institutes and the loss of students in the pandemic Covid19: A Policy Perspective

To overview the history of the pandemics (viral in specific). Coronavirus is not going anywhere but is a part of our routine life. Therefore, closure of educational institutions is a short-term policy action but in long run a loss to education and students in specific.

Historically, the world has faced such issues before and it’s not the first pandemic. In the year 1918, the virus “H1N1 Influenza A Virus” caused a similar situation in the world. The Spanish Flue had killed 100 million people globally. A total of four waves of the viral infection were recorded one after another. The spread of the virus had not ended at the fourth wave. But the virus (an RNA virus-like COVID-19) kept mutating and emerging in different forms and caused several endemics around the globe for years.

Similarly, the COVID19 is also an RNA virus. RNA viruses are very unstable, and it can acquire mutations very easily. As per the research study, the COVID19 virus (belongs to the corona family of viruses) has the potential of acquiring two mutations in its genome every month. Because of this creating proper vaccines or immunity against these viruses is not so easy. Such viruses exist for many years in the form of “HIV virus or Influenza virus” but scientists have not successfully created an effective vaccine against these viruses till now.

COVID19 virus is very new and scientific research requires a lot of time. The study on this virus is a short-term study and mere speculation. The scientific community doesn’t have enough data regarding this virus.

In research we say, every new problem/issue is an opportunity for new research/findings. Covid19 is a new issue and a new opportunity for students in the field of science and research.

Firstly, the government is supposed to tackle this issue in an ‘opportunistic approach’ to provide facilities for students to participate in the research study on Covid19. Unfortunately, the doors of labs in universities and research institutes are closed for students. Every single day wasted of a research student is a huge loss for the country and research in specific.

Secondly, all labs in educational institutes and research institutes shall remain open with SOPs for students to continue their research activities. To explore new knowledge and contribute to the advancement of the country.

Thirdly, the government shall refine the “closure of all educational institutes” to certain specific and a “Smart Education Policy”. Campuses, labs, hostels, library, and transport shall remain open for all PhD and MPhil/MS research students.

For undergraduate students, the course work shall be reduced from 3 credit hours to 1.5 credit hours due to the situation of Covid19. Campuses shall remain open for students in three shifts. The morning shift from 8 am to 11 am. The afternoon shift from 12 pm to 3 pm. The evening shift from 4 pm to 7 pm. Each shift has a total of 3 credit hours, to be followed with 2.5 hours lecture and 30 minutes break (Prayer/Lunch/Tea.

All students may be divided accordingly by their concerned departments to follow the SOPs and the timings of campuses. All labs shall remain open for students having lab practice as their mandatory part of the coursework.

Somehow, students of colleges and secondary schools shall remain online. The primary school kids shall be taught with “Home Education” by their parents in homes.

Fourthly, the government shall impose a law to follow SOPs strictly on the premises of educational campuses. Wearing facemask, 1.5 meters distance and all other SOPs with the instructions of WHO to be followed with strict law. If any student/staff is not following the SOPs shall be fined a specific amount of money, a warning letter from the institutions for the relegation of degree for one semester or year and so for the staff as well. Everyone who is not following the SOPs shall be punished as per the law to implement a strict policy for the opening of educational institutions.

Fifthly, the government shall follow the “Smart Educational Policy” in the opening of educational institutes to maintain the loss of students, research, and education. The policy of closure to be refined with the smart opening of universities. First PhD and MPhil/MS students shall be allowed to the campuses, followed by undergraduate students and then the students of colleges and schools.

Last but not the least, closure of educational institutions is the loss of students and the loss of the country. I must quote Benjamin Franklin here to explain the importance of education in general and in the situation of Covid19 in specific. He says, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Thanks, to Maria Ali for helping me with the biological part of the article in writing.

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