On Tuesday, the President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi, reacted to the social media buzz on the closure of educational institutions across Pakistan, the decision announced by the federal education minister, Shafqat Mahmood to control the spread of coronavirus in the country.
President Alvi took to Twitter to comment on the ongoing frenzy and messages of appreciation poured in on Twitter for Mahmood by students from all over the country. Students had expressed extreme pleasure in the closure of schools, colleges, and universities and hailed Mahmood. The social media platform inundated with hilarious messages, posts, and memes on Monday, reflecting the ‘relief’ and ‘joy’ students felt following the decision.
President Arif Alvi to Shafqat Mahmood
The federal minister trended atop on Twitter, even Pakistani President could not resist commenting on the frenzy. President Alvi tagged federal education minister, Shafqat Mahmood, in a tweet. Perhaps, President Alvi had enjoyed the hilarious reactions of internet users.
“@Shafqat_Mahmood phenomenon was remarkable. Youth were pleased with the decision of school/college closure because of Covid. They showed their appreciation in such a beautiful manner. Pakistan is a country of happy people. Let nobody take that away from us,” wrote President Alvi in the tweet.
@Shafqat_Mahmood phenomenon was remarkable. Youth were pleased on decision of school/college closure because of Covid. They showed their appreciation in such a beautiful manner. Pakistan is a country of happy people. Let nobody take that away from us اللہ نظر بد سے ہمیں دور رکھے— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) November 24, 2020
Read more: Pakistan education system on knife’s edge
In the media briefing yesterday, Mahmood asserted that the National Command and Operative Center (NCOC) has decided to shut down educational institutions from November 26th till January 11th. Education will be provided online and will continue until December 24. There will be winter holidays from December 25 to January 10.
— iam izuu (@IzuuIam) November 23, 2020
In another Twitter message, Mahmood reasserted that the decision applies to every educational institution irrespective of its affiliations to any provincial authority.
“When we say all educational institutions will close on Nov 26 and students will home learn, we mean ALL institutions without exception,” wrote Mahmood in a tweet.
When we say all educational institutions will close on Nov 26 and students will home learn, we mean ALL institutions without exception— Shafqat Mahmood (@Shafqat_Mahmood) November 23, 2020
— Majeed Sultan Khokhar (@MajeedSultanKh2) November 24, 2020
While a wide majority hailed the decision of closure of educational institutions, a small number of students lamented the decision on the concerns of the loss of education. Some students agreed to the online classes of the theoretical subject but expressed concerns on the suspension of practical work and lab practices. A Twitter user rightly pointed out the risk of the suspension of the lab and practical learning for medical students.
COVID-19: Calls to delay MDCAT
Others had requested to delay the aptitude and entrance examination of MDCAT. The internet users asserted that nearly 1.5 lac students are expected to take the tests with 3000 students registered at each center. Hence, there exists a high probability of the violation of COVID-19 SOPs with such a high strength of students present at each center.
Dear @Shafqat_Mahmood & @pmc_org kindly address MDCAT students' concern about Corona SOPs in place to ensure no student gets infected at test venue. Specially how will you ensure that any asymptomatic student doesnt endanger others? Govt/PMC must respond to this genuine concern. https://t.co/br8NtYzed4— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) November 24, 2020
MDCAT 2020 has been trending on social media to attract the attention of government institutions on the relevant concerns. The test is scheduled for 29th November. While all the tests and interviews have been delayed countrywide to control the spread of COVID-19, students expect the government to save their lives and future by delaying MDCAT for at least a month.
100% Double standards.
From one side govt said gathering should be avoided and gave harsh response on Pdm jalsas and on the other hand allowing pmc to conduct #mdcat with just 134000 students.Well done @ImranKhanPTI @Asad_Umar #DelayMdcat https://t.co/MwNHVfA1lm— Malik Arslan (@MalikAr39211715) November 23, 2020
Several internet users argued that students suffering from COVID-19 will also appear for the exam to secure admission in the coming academic year, which will risk the lives of other students as well. The trend has been shared for 51.1k times on Twitter since yesterday.
According to recent reports, the government has given a go-ahead to the scheduled MDCAT with strict COVID-19 guidelines amid calls to postpone it.