The COVID-19 pandemic and E-Learning: the digital divide and educational crises in Pakistan’s universities

Sadia Jamil, Glenn W. Muschert

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances, in information and communication technology (ICT), have significantly impacted some critical sectors of societies (such as transport, health, business, and communication) across many developed and developing countries. Nevertheless, the Internet has proliferated unequally across the world, resulting in global digital inequalities. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the dependence on online education to prevent the interruption of academic progress in schools and universities worldwide. The global pandemic further worsened the situation for Pakistan, which is neither economically strong nor is the country’s ICT infrastructure well-established to facilitate the successful accomplishment of virtual courses and classes. Thus, this study aimed to analyze the level of Internet access among the Pakistani universities’ teachers and students, and their ICT skills as they applied to online education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study used the qualitative method of email interviews and thematic analysis to present the study’s results. This study revealed that most Pakistani students, especially those from rural and remote areas, experienced challenges because they neither had proper Internet access, nor could they use laptops and virtual learning systems. Students, who belonged to the upper and middle classes of urban areas and enrolled in private-sector universities, were not as directly affected by Pakistan’s pervasive digital divide to carryout their education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Publication statusPublished Online - 17 Mar 2023


  • digital divide
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • tertiary-level education
  • online classes
  • Pakistani faculty
  • students


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