PHEC facilitating in promotion of online education during COVID-19

Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) will facilitate universities and colleges in building comprehensive plans, implementation strategies and capacity building programs for the promotion of online teaching and courses during COVID-19.

PHEC facilitating in promotion of online education during COVID-19Short-term, medium-term and long-term plans shall be made for this purpose to strengthen the blended, distance and online education system on a permanent basis in the province covering access to MOOCs, Coursera, and EdX.

This was decided during online meeting of the PHEC committee constituted to discuss the policy guidelines regarding online education in affiliated colleges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was chaired by Chairman PHEC Prof Dr Fazal Ahmed Khalid. Prof Dr Syed Mansoor Sarwar, Vice-Chancellor, University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore, Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf Vice-Chancellor, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Prof. Dr. Khalid Masud Gondal  Vice-Chancellor, King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar, Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, Vice-Chancellor, University of Education, Lahore, Dr Naeem Tariq, Rector, Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore, Prof Dr Rukhsana David Principal, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore were also attended the meeting.

Vice-Chancellor Lahore Garrison University Lahore Major General (R) Obaid Bin Zikria, Vice-Chancellor University of Sargodha Prof Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor University of Gujrat Prof Dr Shabbar Atiq, Vice-Chancellor Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan Prof. Dr. Mansoor Akhbar Kundi and Vice-Chancellor Islamia University Bahawalpur Prof Dr Ather Mehboob also participated in the meeting as guests.

The committee also agreed to begin a comprehensive training program for the capacity building of faculty and staff of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) through online facility using MS Team, Zoom, Moodle and other softwares.

Furthermore universities will provide facilitation to other Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), including affiliated colleges, regarding operating with Learning Management System, online course materials, lectures, assessments, knowledge sharing, and IT support. For this purpose Focal persons as well as IT committees in HEIs will coordinate with colleges and provide data for mapping and need assessment for joint collaboration.

The committee also suggested that quality benchmarks and good practices of the technologically advanced universities, around the globe, should be adopted and support should be sought from the online learning system of Virtual University, the University of the Punjab, University of Engineering & Technology (UET) and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) to improve their capacity and online support to affiliated colleges.

It was agreed by the members of the committee that Specific Committees will be constituted for the promotion of Research and Development as well as comprehensive Learning Management System and software.

The committee stressed on strengthening academic think tanks and constructive debate to promote knowledge sharing, and collaborations among HEIs over online and blended learning, as well as creating awareness on Health and safety guidelines regarding the current pandemic.