HEC issues policy guidance for online education

HEC issues list of illegal campuses
HEC issues list of illegal campuses

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has announced a new Policy Guidance for the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), following the government’s decision regarding the continuation of education during the second wave of Covid-19.

As per the government’s directions, all academic institutions shall be closed from November 26, 2020, until December 24, 2020.
However, they shall continue to deliver education through online or hybrid means or through assigning homework, especially if there are problems of connectivity. The winter holidays shall be scheduled from December 25, 2020, to January 10, 2021, and all academic institutions shall remain closed during this period.

Academic institutions are scheduled to open on January 11, 2021. However, a review meeting will be held during the first week of January 2021 to assess the situation, and authorize the opening of academic institutions.
In light of the government’s directions, the vice-chancellors have been authorized to allow small groups of “essential” individuals on campus, subject to the implementation of scrutiny mechanisms or safeguards.
The total number of students permitted to come to campus should not exceed 30 percent of the total enrolment, or a lower number if dictated by the campus conditions.
Similarly, the VCs may require the faculty members to come to campus for delivering or preparing their online lectures.

All the large examinations planned for December 2020 have been postponed, with exception of assessment examinations, such as MDCAT, other entrance exams, recruitment exams, or prescheduled small examinations, with less than 30 students. These may be conducted, if necessary, with strict observance of all health and safety protocols.

“All the VCs and heads of institutions shall ensure that the flexibility granted by the government exercised judiciously, authorized at the highest level, and monitored and managed effectively and efficiently,” reads the new Policy Guidance.

The HEC has also released Rs10 million each to all public sector universities to help them establish any supportive arrangements needed to improve the quality of the online education process.
The HEC has constituted a Covid Response Oversight Committee to collaborate with the VCs in their respective regions, clarify questions or concerns, share best practices, and oversee implementation. The committee headed by Punjab University VC Dr. Niaz Akhtar and comprises COMSATS University Islamabad VC Dr. Tabassum Afzal (for ICT), Mehran University of Engineering and Technology VC Dr. Aslam Uqaili (for Sindh), Peshawar University VC Dr. Abid Ali (for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa), BUITEMS VC Engr Farooq Bazai (for Balochistan), AJK University VC Dr. Kaleem Abbasi (for AJK), and Baltistan University VC Dr. Naeem Khan (for Gilgit-Baltistan).


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