Teaching the Privileged? Observations on the (UN)Inclusiveness of Online Education during Pandemic

Nashia Ajaz

Abstract

Coronavirus pandemic has changed the existing norms of life all over the world. Among other areas of life, the pandemic has also hit the education sector, where recent statistics show that around 500 million students worldwide were unable to access remote learning. In developing countries like Pakistan, which is amongst the top-twenty countries impacted by the pandemic, and where around 23 million children were already out of school, much of the progress made over the years has reversed. Drawing on ‘Faucet Theory,’ this paper questions the inclusiveness of online higher education and argues that the stories of successful shifting to online education seem to be unexclusive, representing only privileged students, while neglecting the under-privileged students. Exclusions faced by the under-privileged students, including those related to technological, financial, and social, have been highlighted through the present research, emerging from a close analysis of informal conversations with approximately 90 female students of undergraduate level in Pakistan. The study recommends further in-depth research unveiling the stories and implications for those left out in online education during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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