Higher Education Commission (HEC) issued directives to all universities either to switch to online classes or abandon the ongoing semester due to the wake of the uncertain situation during Coronavirus lockdown.
HEC Chairman Dr. Tariq Banuri said in a media briefing if lockdown restrictions are extended till early June, universities can return in routine as usual. But if there are further delays, there will be no options other than starting online education or suspending the current semester.
He further added that HEC has adopted a two-pronged strategy to support the government’s efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19 and resume academic activities at the same time.
He stated that only online education during the pandemic can ensure that the government’s efforts don’t go in vain. HEC has asked all universities to train their staff accordingly and restart academic activities online.
HEC has instituted a technical support committee (TSC) for the capacity building of teachers in order to help universities’ staff adapt to the online mode of education. TSC will also assist in deploying the Learning Management System (LMS) in universities to resume online education.
HEC has also set up a National Knowledge Bank (NKB) to ensure teachers can access a wide range of academic resources for quality education. National Academy for Higher Education (NAHE) has prepared online tutorials for teachers to improve their skills as well.
Regarding issues faced by students in remote areas such as poor connectivity and costly data packages, HEC has signed an agreement with telecom companies to broaden their network coverage and prepare cheap data bundles for students.
HEC has ordered all universities to submit information of students who don’t have smartphones, tablets, and laptops for online classes. HEC will provide Smartphones to all students that don’t have one.