Letters To The Editor

"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." – Warren Buffett

Social distancing in Pakistan

Keeping a distance from other people is unfamiliar territory for most of us, especially in a country like Pakistan where people still do not realise the severity of the situation. Markets are still bustling. People are still partying. Greeting rituals do not suffice with a handshake, people also hug at every encounter. Even transportation in Pakistan has its risks. Citizens cram into vehicles to get about. What's more; worshippers crowd in mosques and many clerics have dismissed the danger of contagion. Even though Muslim countries across the world and the Middle East have closed mosques for daily and Friday prayers, many of Pakistan’s hardliners are still debating whether or not shutting down congregational activities in the mosques is illicit. Communal gatherings and social settings are a lifeline for Pakistanis, and such gatherings have been the reason for the further spread of the virus in Pakistan. What we all need to understand is that limiting our contact with people will slow down virus transmission and flatten the epidemic curve so that we can reduce the number of cases occurring at the peak of the crisis. The aim is to lighten demands on the health system when we peak, so all of those needing help can get it, and we save lives. Social distancing, more appropriately called physical distancing, is not always straight forward and if you are sometimes unsure, you are not alone. In order to put the theory into practice, we need to adhere to two principles. Firstly, assume everyone we meet has coronavirus, regardless of how they look or who they are. And secondly, also assume that we have coronavirus, and could give it to other people. It’s important we all act as though we are potentially carrying the virus. Remember, distancing ourselves from others protects everybody – particularly the more vulnerable in society.

Tahira Ahmed,

Education beyond the classroom

The purpose of school is to prepare students for life beyond school. Today's society has a higher demand for self-awareness and more specialised skills. One of the easiest ways to help advance students is by incorporating learning experiences outside the classroom. Taking classroom learning outside can help enrich a student's educational experience by showing them real-life applications of theories that they are learning at school. But what exactly is learning outside the classroom? Learning outside the classroom is the use of places other than the school for teaching and learning. It is about getting children and young people out and about, providing them with challenging, exciting and different experiences to help them learn. Places may refer to a location, activity or workshop. Learning outside the classroom experiences differ from those that arise through conventional teaching methods as students may be encouraged to engage a broader range of soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and compromise in their learning environment. Conventional teaching focuses on repetition and memorisation to educate students and is beneficial for sharing new knowledge and teaching students who learn best by listening. However, conventional teaching doesn't encourage students to develop critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills, which learning outside the classroom can. Despite of many changes seen in the educational system of Pakistan in the recent years, many schools still use the traditional methods of teaching. Education beyond the classroom should be promoted. Field trips are the most common form of learning outside the classroom and they contribute to the development of students into civilised young men and women who possess more knowledge about art, have stronger critical-thinking skills, exhibit increased historical empathy, display higher levels of tolerance, and have a greater taste for consuming art and culture.

Aneela Shah,