According to the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Tariq Banuri, HEC is developing various strategies to resume online academic activities for students across the country affected by the COVID-19 pandemic’s closure of institutions in Pakistan.
Dr. Banuri said that HEC has already inked an agreement with telecommunications companies to offer students special data bundles at affordable prices, especially those living in remote areas.
The HEC is also mulling about providing students with smartphones who can’t afford to buy one after studies showed that several students stayed away from online classes because they didn’t have a smartphone. Universities were instructed to provide the data of these students to HEC.
Regarding low or no connectivity in remote areas, Dr. Banuri said the government and telecommunications companies are slowly resolving those issues.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across the globe are conducting online classes, stated the HEC Chairman.
Face-to-face teaching is halted at all educational institutions across the globe after the Coronavirus pandemic. Countries with resources and capacity have opted for the online education system. Pakistan should move towards online classes until circumstances become normal in line with the approach the developed countries have opted for during the current situation. Coronavirus has badly affected the education system not only in Pakistan but across the globe.
Resuming Online Classes
Dr. Banuri said the HEC was aware of the issues associated with online classes. The lack of an electronic network, staff instruction, electricity, access and internet coverage are some of the problems.
The HEC has drafted an 8-step plan to resolve various quality and communication issues.
In addition, Dr. Banuri said that universities with well-built learning management systems (LMS) were directed to resume classes online. All of these universities have no connectivity issues and are exceptional in their quality of online teaching.
Universities facing technological, technical, or spatial constraints were given the time to plan, acquire, train, and deploy LMS. Starting June 1 these universities will begin online classes via LMS in case the lockdown is extended due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the HEC has formed a Technical Support Committee (TSC) to help the workers of universities adjust to the online mode of education, Dr. Banuri said.