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Challenges to higher education in distance learning discussed

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Challenges to higher education in distance learning discussed
Islamabad :19 June: The infrastructural and governance level issues need to be addressed by the governments to streamline the e-learning after COVID-19 scenario in addition to efforts putting learning institutions to be adaptive to new challenges.

This was resolved during an online dialogue ‘COVID-19 and the challenges to higher education in distance learning’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) here.

Dr Alastair Creelman, e-learning specialist, Linnaeus University, Sweden, said that we need to understand that there is a long way to go to overcome the challenges including using and developing the required tools effectively. He said that the students and the teachers need necessary skills for effective e-learning whereas the issues such as home environment and connectivity also need to be assessed. The production of teaching and learning guides could play critical role in improving the quality of e-learning, he added.

Dr Zia ul-Qayyum, Vice Chancellor, AIOU, was of view that the focus on finding the ways to respond after Covid-19 challenges could lead as to right strategies. He said that his university has enrolment from all parts of Pakistan including remote areas with low and even no connectivity, and respond the needs of students accordingly. He said that the quality assurance is another critical aspect that needs our attention and be responded accordingly.

Dr Kam Cheong Li, Open University of Hong Kong, China, while highlighting various tools that are being applied by his institution in after Covid-19 situation, said that the students and faculty had not been much familiar with online learning mode earlier. However, he said, we have taken a number of initiatives including effective use of various social media tools, helpline desks etc to bridge the learning gap.

Dr Saima Hamid, Vice-Chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, said that Covid-19 has accelerated the paradigm shift from the conventional to technological learning. She said that the universities need to enhance collaboration on new learning techniques and embracing the technological mode of learning is the only way forward, she said adding that the capacity building sessions for the students and faculty members are proving to be a great help in making this shift effective.The news.
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