Higher education institutions suspend operations until May 31

LAHORE:01 April:In pursuance of the instructions by the Punjab government in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have suspended their academic operations and closed down until 31st May, 2020. A meeting of following committee constituted by Punjab Higher Education Commission was held here Tuesday to discuss online teaching learning process during this period and to assess readiness of universities for preparation to upload lectures/course materials/assignments on Learning Management System (LMS). PHEC is coordinating with all stakeholders to provide necessary support to universities in Online Courses, Smart Classrooms and IT facilities. The committee members, including UET Lahore Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Syed Mansoor Sarwar, KEMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Masud Gondal, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf, Information Technology University, Lahore, Vice-Chancellor, Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar, University of Education, Lahore, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore, Rector Dr Naeem Tariq, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore Principal Prof Dr Rukhsana David attended the meeting. Chairman PHEC, Prof Fazal Ahmad Khalid, welcomed the members who appreciated the efforts made by PHEC for coordination to work with all universities and to engage students in online and blended mode of teaching and learning process. The committee concluded with following policy guidelines for the universities for online education facility to the students:- The universities should start online and blended teaching learning process ensuring compliance to minimum requirements and facilities available on the campus such as availability of Learning Management System (LMS), use of different software such as Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Class, Hangouts etc. Universities should also provide training to and facilitate faculty members involved in blended mode of learning and also ensure access to the students to engage them in lectures, provision of course material, guidance and counselling sessions, assignments and projects’ supervision as part of attainment of course learning outcomes. In case of some remote areas and access issues, those students who are unable to attend online sessions specified for a course should have an opportunity to access course material and join counselling sessions as specified by the course instructor through email/WhatsApp. The university can also decide to give them a chance for semester freeze or makeup classes during summer as soon as normal academic session is resumed. As the universities are autonomous they can revise their academic calendar as required and formulate policies to ensure quality, maintenance of minimum requirements for online education and revision of assessment and grading policy for assignments/quizzes, midterm and final exams. In case of practical exams, lab work and projects the faculty members are advised to provide online guidance to the students so that they can complete their practical work and projects on resumption of academic session. It was agreed that institutions like UET Lahore and Virtual University that already have good Learning Management Systems (LMS) can help other institutions. A sub–committee is constituted to work out software and hardware requirements of universities. Issues of storage capacity, bandwidth, and hardware were also discussed to get support from HEC and PITB. PHEC will work with HEC and HED to update on policy matters and check with universities in order to evaluate their needs of IT infrastructure, automation, assessment and LMS to assess financial requirements for inclusion in the next financial year budget.The news.

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