Coronavirus pandemic: Should student researchers be allowed to work in labs?

Research students work day and night in first year of their degree. They try hard to make a novel research plan, a kind of a research that is significant and has never been done before. It takes quite an effort to achieve the initial goal. Then after completing of first year, they begin working practically on that plan. A huge amount of money is spent on the reagents and instruments that are being used in the process. The hard work to make the ends meet, is incomparable.

While researchers were pacing forward with full enthusiasm and energy, they came across biggest challenge of the millennium, the pandemic. It is still standing in front of us like an insurmountable obstacle. We all are cognizant with its power to damage. We have witnessed the people, young and old dying every day, all over the world. The deteriorating impact that it is going to have on world economy, growth and development is inevitable.

Keeping all the circumstances in view, I want to show a side of picture that did not get the attention before. Among many, one downside of the matter is that researchers are badly stuck. Being bound in homes they feel hand cuffed and chained. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is becoming a more hopeless situation than pandemic itself. It’s equally disturbing to know that there is no end to the struggles they all have made so far. I’m a research student in COMSATS University Islamabad. I have spent my past 18 to 20 months on building the idea. I have tried very hard to turn it into a reality. Now, when I was near achieving my goal, I’m being asked to pull back and change my plan because it can’t go that way due to pandemic. I would not be allowed to work in lab any sooner, so it would be better to change the direction of whole research study. As if whole process done before was worthless anyway.

Since the crisis started, in order to meet the need, many alternatives have been given to the students so that they don’t have to take the risk of going out of home. Those alternatives have somehow played role in enabling students to get the quality education at home. But at the same time, the students of biological sciences and other physical sciences need laboratories to work. They cannot do work residing in their homes. I believe that all of the students want to work in labs and they have right to be allowed in laboratory if they are willing to follow SOP’s as soon as possible.

Sometimes the conventional ways to handle a certain situation can be wrong. We honor the decision made by the education minister in order to provide safety for students but it has its own dark sides too, that haven’t been kept in mind while making the decision. There’s an absolute chance of the education minister Mr. Shafqat Mehmood and his advisors to be wrong.

I believe that we should be given the opportunity to work in our niche, with proper protective measures. Our work, our goals are equally legitimate and will surely impact the world just like their legislation does.

They should make legislation that allows researchers students to work. Stopping them half way and asking them to mold their research plans in a way that can be performed at home is not a legitimate way.

Researchers should be allowed in laboratories and should be given time to complete their designed projects before the deadlines hits.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are the writer’s own opinion. Dunya News will not be held responsible for any kind of discrepancy. 

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