PHEC To Assist Varsities Continue Education Online

 

The Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) has constituted a nine-member committee to enable higher education institutions to continue teaching lessons online.This comes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which forced the Government of Punjab to announce closure of all education institutions until May 31. The closures have been categorized as early summer holidays this year in lieu of the usual April/May – August/September window.Headed by PHEC Chairperson Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid, the goal of the committee is to set out guidelines to ensure an efficient transition to online learning.The committee, comprising of vice chancellors of prominent public varsities, will work in tandem with higher education institutions to facilitate smart classrooms and to meet the IT needs of these institutions in order to manage as seamless a transition as possible.

 

Ministers Discuss Education Schedule, Exams In Face Of Corona Virus

An online video conference-based meeting between education ministers of all four provinces was held on March 26. The meeting took stock of school and examination schedule and how they have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood presided over the online conference, while provincial education ministers of all the provinces, secretaries of school and higher education departments also attended the conference.The conference was aimed at discussing the education related issues of all provinces amid coronavirus. Extending vacations in educational institutions and examination schedule of different classes were also discussed. Punjab education ministries would finalize decision regarding both issues after committee meetings.All provinces have extended vacations in schools until May 31st and termed them as summer vacations. Through an order on March 24, the Punjab government’s cabinet meeting extended vacations in schools until May 31, announcing that the vacations would be part of summer vacations.The Punjab cabinet also decided that half fee would be charged from students during the closure period, but the teachers would receive full salaries. 

 

HEC To Fund Research To Address COVID-19 Crisis: HEC Chairman

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has sought proposals from universities, institutes, and individual researchers on ideas to address the novel coronavirus crisis. This was decided in a special video meeting of HEC’s senior management on March 24.The bulk of HEC staff has been directed to work from home, following the directives of the Health Ministry, so all the work of the commission is conducted electronically. Applications are received online or through courier, meetings are conducted by video link, and all papers and files are handles electronically. These arrangements have been out in place in order to ensure that all major services of the commission continue to be provided without interruption during the current emergency.The research initiative has been launched with support of the World Bank, and is entitled the RAPID Research and Innovation Fund (RRIF) program. It aims to mobilize the research capacities of universities in support of national efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis.Under the initiative, a rapid assessment and review mechanism has been established to analyze research and innovation proposals urgently. Each applicant seeking funding through the RAPID Research and Innovation Fund can propose an idea based on one of the priority themes. Funding will be provided to selected research-intensive institutions for analysis of data, testing of specimens, access to facilities or equipment, or development of essential products or services.

 

UHS Establishes National Tele-Medicine Center For Corona Virus Control

The University of Health Sciences (UHS) established a National Tele-medicine Center for Coronavirus (COVID-19) control to help healthcare providers manage and mitigate the spread of deadly virus.“It is so important for sick people to stay at home, and if they’re not that sick they can still use tele-medicine, talk to a doctor, and get some reassurance. And if they don’t have the virus, then it’s really good too — because it keeps them home and away from other sick people,” Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said after inaugurating the tele-medicine center at UHS.He said coronavirus could be defeated only through precautionary/safety measures for which every single person of the society would have to play his/her role.Sarwar called for getting prepared to eliminate coronavirus with determination. The governor added that the coronavirus was jeopardizing economies of even developed countries and had become the biggest challenge for the world. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was monitoring all anti-corona measures and was issuing necessary directives and ensuring release of funds to health and other relevant departments on a daily basis.

 

Unapproved Statutes Impede Appointments In 15 Public Universities

Around 15 of the 28 public sector universities in Punjab are unable to appoint key officials due to unapproved statutes and service rules, the Academia Magazine has learnt.Reliable sources at the Higher Education Department (HED) told Academia Magazine that as there were no approved statutes of public sector varsities, appointments of registrars, controllers of examination and treasurers could not be done as per the directions of the Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar.According to the sources, the service rules of Government College University Lahore, Fatimah Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi, Government College University for Women Faisalabad, Government College University for Women Sialkot, University of Sargodha, University of Education and newly established universities were still in the process of approval from the chancellor.They revealed that the unapproved service rules of these public sector universities were the result of cumbersome procedure for approval of draft statutes, inattention of the Higher Education Department and the vice chancellors of the universities.

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