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QAU to take lead in digitising higher education

Islamabad

July 1, 2020

Islamabad : Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) is going to take the lead in digitising higher education studies, its Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Muhammad Ali told ‘The News’ in an exclusive interview.

“Our youth is already there on social media in a big way. We just need to steer their energies towards education on the platform of their choice,” he said.

He said in this situation, parents, teachers and students all are facing a challenge. In the battles between human beings and diseases, human beings win, he said, and same will happen to coronavirus. “But even when we defeat this pandemic, we will need technology to supplement our efforts. Now awareness about this need is increasing,” he said.

He said digitization of higher education is a means for quality enhancement. “By now, there must have been a pool of lectures from quality professors on all subjects in Pakistan as everybody is taking classes online,” he said.

It is regrettable that lack of expertise and initiative on part of the decision-makers have led to wastage of this treasure trove. Misplaced priorities and bickering our budget has replaced quality decision-making process and Pakistani university students are facing threats to their future due to this practice.

Dr Ali elaborated his point saying that lectures of all universities in developed countries like the US are put in a database and every student can access these. “Imagine a Pakistani student interested in mass com­m­un­ication research can have lectures on this subject from top 10 professors of the field in addition to taking regular classes. It will definitely increase her understanding of the subject manifold,” he said.

He cited example of MIT, the world’s leading university, which has put all its lectures online for anybody to benefit free of cost.

Digitization of higher education will do away with academic dishonesty too as teachers will prepare their lectures well knowing that they will be recorded, he said. “It will save resources. There are many common subjects and universities have to hire nine or 10 different professors for one single subject. Once we digitize our system, one quality professor can deliver lecture to 10 different classes studying a common subject. It will save a lot of resources,” he said.

“We have held selection boards and other high-powered meetings online and we have saved a lot of resources doing so. Plus, each and every word is recorded and it is good for the sake of accountability,” he said.

He said Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is fully capable to digitize higher education and its experience should be utilized. He added that Virtual University too has a multi-billion rupee project for digitization and their expertise should be benefited. “Problem is we have solution to our problems handy but the decision-makers are not interested to do the things through proper channel,” he added.