Punjab Higher Education Commission will facilitate universities and colleges to develop comprehensive plans, implementation strategies, and capacity building programs for the promotion of online teaching and courses.

For this purpose, short-term, medium-term and long-term plans shall be devised 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 today in an 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, chaired by Chairman PHEC Prof  Dr Fazal Ahmed Khalid, was attended by 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

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

The committee also agreed to initiate, without a delay, 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. It was decided that 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, and for a comprehensive Learning Management System and software.

The committee emphasized 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.

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