Online lectures to be halted if university unable to ‘deliver good quality online lectures’, says HEC Chairman
As a result of an overwhelming number of complaints regarding online classes in some universities, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to take action and inspect the quality of these classes in order to determine if they should be continued or suspended. In this regard, it has asked for detailed information on online courses to determine their content value, delivery, and connectivity.
HEC Chairman Tariq Banuri made this announcement in response to a generally dissatisfactory response to the system of online classes from students all over Pakistan. He further stated that if a university is found unable to deliver good quality online lectures, they will be directed to halt such lectures until the requisite conditions are met.
The coronavirus pandemic resulted in entire systems, including education, being put to a halt as social distancing via nation-wide quarantine became an urgent call of the hour. In an attempt to continue the advance of education, universities decided to deploy online lectures through the medium of tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. However, owing to the seriousness of COVID-19 and the poor Internet connection in many areas, students have been having a hard time getting the most out of online lectures.
While HEC has allowed digitally advanced universities to put out online lectures as soon as they are ready, it has made it clear that the quality of education should not suffer at any cost. If a university feels that it needs time to establish a proper learning system, it has until the 31st of May to do so.
HEC has pulled out all the stops to ensure that education does not get adversely affected in Pakistan. This includes giving all public universities free access to MS Teams and establishing three special committees to help arrange tech support and design appropriate online content for lectures. Similarly, universities have been ordered to arrange training for their faculty members on best practices in online teaching.
Furthermore, HEC is collecting information from universities to develop a national repository of online courses and academic content.
Our current situation is certainly not normal, and it’s important that we ensure that we can make the most of it. Online classes are only as good as the quality of content they are able to deliver. If they fail to provide quality results, there is a need to suspend them so that they can be modified and continued later when they are in good enough shape to serve the students of this nation.