LAHORE :19 April: University of Engineering and Technology (UET) has launched the first phase of the Online-cum-Distance Learning (ODL) program in the wake of lockdown due to Covid-19 and during this phase, classes will be conducted for the final semester undergraduate students only. According to a press release the UET administration has issued several notifications in this regard on ODL Policy Guidelines, ODL Course Readiness Certificate, ODL Quality Assurance Committee, and ODL Academic Committee. The ODL policies mandate teacher training and student readiness for ODL, ODL readiness of each course through a well defined process, and timeline for lectures, labs, Final Year Projects (FYPs), and comprehensive final examination. If the university opens on June 1, the remaining lectures and assessment will be conducted on campus as per the schedule. Otherwise, the assessment methodology for labs, FYPs, and comprehensive final examination will be announced at an appropriate time in line with the directions and recommendations of Higher Education Commission (HEC), Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC), and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC). The university will announce policy and timeline for the remaining undergraduate semesters and graduate classes after receiving guidelines and recommendations from HEC and accreditation bodies such as PEC, NCEAC, and PCATP. Vice Chancellor Dr Syed Mansoor Sarwar said the sudden closure of universities on March 14 was unplanned and abrupt, and their opening on June 1 was also quite uncertain. The uncertainty of the opening date required a well thought-out plan for continuation of academics through ODL, a brand new mode of teaching-learning by both teachers and students. This coupled with access to the Internet at a university where almost 60% of the undergraduate student body is on financial aid, and lack of teacher and student readiness technically and their mental acceptance, added to the complexity of the change. “Instead of dealing with this change reactively, as was done by some universities, at UET we decided to manage the change with a well thought out plan, to be implemented starting with final semester undergraduate classes,” said Dr Syed Mansoor Sarwar. These decisions were taken after a long consultative process involving deans, chairpersons of academic departments, teachers, students, and IT personal in the light of directions and recommendations from the HEC, PHEC, Punjab Higher Education Department (HED), and PEC. The colleges affiliated with the university have been directed to follow the same ODL policies.The news.