Different alternative modes of learning are being used to teach children across Sindh after the closure of educational institutes for a second time, so even a 50 per cent rate of success in using these technological methods would mean a lot for imparting education during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani expressed these views while addressing a news conference on Sunday. He said that no other technological means can sufficiently serve as an alternative to formal classroom education during the health crisis.
He also said that different means — the assistance of Microsoft, TV channels, FM radio and online classes — are being used to teach students during the pandemic. “We had no prior realisation that we would have to face such a kind of situation that we are dealing with right now.”
The minister said they had started online classes because they had no other option. He lamented that many areas of the province did not have the facility of internet. “We have introduced different systems to deal with the situation, but even then we would not be able to provide access to 100 per cent of our children [during the pandemic].”
Ghani, who also holds the labour portfolio, demanded that the federal government should not cause any more delays in the devolution of the assets and resources of the Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) and the Employees Old-age Benefit Institution (EOBI) to Sindh when the provincial assembly has already passed laws to establish these pro-labour institutions at provincial level.
He said that after the 18th constitutional amendment, the WWF and the EOBI have become a provincial subject. He also said the federal government has been illegally occupying the institutions of the EOBI and the WWF because it is not willing to transfer their resources and assets to the provinces.
The minister said Sindh and Punjab have adopted the laws to establish provincial-level institutions of the EOBI and the WWF, so the two provinces should not be made to suffer on account of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which are yet to pass the relevant legislation.
He said that an unelected special assistant to the prime minister, who also holds dual nationality, has no authority to usurp the resources of the provinces in such a tyrannical manner. He also said the federal government has accepted that it still possesses Rs124 billion of the WWF.
Ghani said that although the Council of Common Interests is a constitutional forum, it does not possess the power to negate the laws passed by the provincial assemblies to establish provincial-level institutions in the light of the 18th amendment.
He said that for past two and a half years, the federal government has been holding on to the belief that the Centre bears the expenses of the provinces. However, he added, the actual situation is that the Centre earns from the provinces, which enable the federal agencies to operate.
He also said that the present rulers have no understanding of the law or the constitution. The federal government has been completing development projects in Karachi that were envisaged during Nawaz Sharif’s government, and it has not started any new project in the city, he added.
He decried that the gas supply crisis has exacerbated to the extent that many households in Karachi do not have gas for cooking, saying that the energy crisis during this year’s winter season has become a country-wide phenomenon.
He said that last year, when the gas crisis had emerged in the country, the federal government had put its blame on the Sindh government, claiming that the provincial administration had delayed the grant of permission to lay a 17-kilometre-long gas pipeline.
The gas crisis has worsened this year, even though not only has the permission been granted but the gas pipeline itself has also been laid, he added.