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Covid-19: HEC rolls out plan for examinations, online classes, admissions amid Covid

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Thursday unveiled new policy guidelines for universities and directed varsities across the county to continue education through alternative modes during the second wave of pandemic COVID-19.

In the light of the government directions, the Vice-Chancellors have been authorised to allow small groups of “essential” individuals on campus, subject to implementation of scrutiny mechanisms or safeguards. Only certain categories of students may be allowed on campus.

These categories may comprise low-income students who may have connectivity problems at home because of lack of access to the internet or the availability of proper devices, foreign students, PhD or MPhil students (or final year students) who need to use the laboratories to complete their thesis work, or third year or higher medical students who need to obtain clinical training.

The total number of students permitted to come to campus should not exceed 30 per cent.

Similarly, the Vice Chancellors may require the faculty members to come to campus for delivering or preparing their online lectures.

All examinations planned for December 2020 have been postponed, with exception of assessment examinations, such as MDCAT, other entrance exams, recruitment exams, or pre scheduled small examinations (e.g., less than 30 students).

“All the Vice Chancellors and heads of institutions shall ensure that the flexibility granted by the government is exercised in a judicious manner, authorised at the highest level, and monitored and managed effectively and efficiently,” reads the new Policy Guidance.

HEC has also released Rs 10 million each to all public sector universities to help them establish any supportive arrangements needed to improve the quality of the online education process.

Read More: COVID-19 spike: Govt announces closure of educational institutions from Nov 26

Besides, the universities may recruit senior, tech-savvy students to assist faculty members in technology related problems involved in online education.

Furthermore, HEC has constituted a COVID Response Oversight Committee to collaborate with the Vice Chancellors in their respective regions, clarify questions or concerns, share best practices, and oversee implementation.

The Committee is headed by Dr. Niaz Akhtar, Vice-Chancellor Punjab University, and comprises Dr. Tabassum Afzal (for ICT), Vice-Chancellor COMSATS University Islamabad, Dr. Aslam Uqaili, Vice Chancellor Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (for Sindh), Dr. Abid Ali, Vice-Chancellor Peshawar University (for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Engr. Farooq Bazai, Vice Chancallor BUITEMS (for Balochistan), Dr. Kaleem Abbasi, Vice Chancellor AJK University (for AJK), and Dr. Naeem Khan, Vice Chancellor Baltistan University (for Gilgit-Baltistan).

The committee will also interact with the respective provincial governments to ensure synchronized and cooperative action.

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