Prof. Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) passed a statement in Vice Chancellors’ conference that universities are requested to take immediate measures for the conduct of online classes. He addressed all the VCs’ that universities shall adopt a formal policy and deliver SOPs among their faculty and students for online courses. All the online courses shall be approved by HEC based on universities’ SOPs and formal policies shared in black and white. The conference too was done using an online platform named Microsoft Teams. All the VCs showed their commitment with the statement of Chairman, HEC that online teaching will be made successful.
The VCs’ committee meeting including the heads of all the universities of Pakistan reviewed their progress on the conduct of online classes. Few of the universities were already conducting online classes, although few had to improve their systems for preventing any sort of academic loss. All the VCs expressed that they are accelerating their efforts for promoting the conduction of online classes and using of online platforms. HEC is pushing the universities for executing Learning Management System (LMS) based on the need and capacity of each.
Earlier, HEC said that universities shall first put LMS in place and then conduct online classes. However, some of the universities started the conduct of online classes, whereas, the launching of LMS at any time soon was the mutually agreed decision between HEC and various universities. HEC Chairman also put forward the requirement of setting up an Academic Council on the same working lines as already existing. However, the name shall be changed to Online Academic Council. Universities are also advised to name separate focal points for corresponding with HEC regarding online courses and technology support.
Dr. Banuri asked the VCs to share this data at their earliest which shall include the names of their focal points and Online Academic Council. The LMS shall contain the list of all online courses and the students enrolled in it shall be able to view introduction, learning objectives, textbooks / study material and assignments alongside the lesson plan and rules of the grading policy. The assignments might be able to view once the teacher makes it active. HEC also committed on their end, they are trying hard to provide internet services to all the students irrespective of their remote locations.
The VCs’ were advised by HEC that they shall collect the information of students’ locations and their connectivity challenges. On the other hand, HEC is establishing contact with telecommunication companies for introducing Taleem bundles for students. HEC concluded the VCs’ conference by requesting the universities to raise their technology and ICT capabilities as it is the only way forward.