Friday September 29, 2023

Seminar concluded by adopting draft policy on ODL

May 15, 2016


Two-day international seminar concluded here Saturday after adopting draft outlines of national policy on Open Distance Learning (ODL) to ensure access to affordable quality education to all sections of the society across the country.

The seminar was jointly organised by Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) that was attended by prominent educationists from home and abroad who hoped that the draft outlines will set in motion formal approval and implementation of the policy in due course of time.

The draft outlines were finalized after two-day long deliberations by the nine Focus Groups which were specially set up for the purpose. The AIOU being the pioneer of ODL system played a major role in taking the step forward towards the national policy, in collaboration with Virtual University.

Addressing the concluding session, Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Shahid Siddiqui announced that the draft document will be circulated among the stake-holders for seeking their necessary input before presenting it to the HEC for further action. The document will also be sent to Commonwealth of Learning (ODL) and other Universities of the World for their professional feedback. 

The concluding session was also attended by the COL President Professor Asha S. Kanwar and Tan Sri Dato Professor Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Chairman Board of Governors Wawasan Open University, Malaysia. Virtual University Rector Dr. Naveed Malik gave a presentation on perception and problems of ODL.

The draft recommendations were presented by Dr. Nasir Mahmood which covered wide-ranging subjects including curriculum and content development, admission procedure, institutional design, delivery modes and mechanisms, student support services, financial support to students, Evaluation, Assessment mechanism and human resource professional development.  The Focus Groups also recommended setting up ODL Council, ODL Quality Assurance Agency, National Academy of ODL professionals, Regulation of governance and administrative setup, ODL TV channel and a web portal for ODL.

Dr. Shahid Siddiqui in his remarks further said the draft policy will prove a milestone on the part of AIOU that will bring about fundamental improvements in the educational system through non-traditional mode of learning. It will help to realize the national dream ensuring access to quality Education to All, he added.

He extended special thanks to foreign and local guests, particularly HEC chairman and COL president for their support in preparing the policy. The seminar, he added also provided a mechanism of collaborative partnership among the relevant institutions and help to prepare a long-strategic plan to expand the educational network.  Professor Asha S. Kanwar in her key-note address spoke in detail on the ODL’s policy in international perspective. She said Pakistan is any active member of COL for promoting educational cause. The COL, she had a role ‘Education diplomacy’ promoting interactivity and collaboration among the member countries including India.

Professor Gajaraj spoke on designing and developing of curriculum for open distance education. He asserted that the course-contents must be relevant to the students’ needs that help them to earn their livelihood with respect and dignity. Head of International Exchange and Collaboration Department of AIOU, Zahid Majeed also appreciated the contribution of the Focus groups on the occasion.