ISLAMABAD -- The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has taken note of a statement by FAPUASA representatives to boycott online classes. It is clarified that teaching online classes is a matter between the university and individual faculty members. Thus far, the vast majority of faculty members has treated this responsibility as a national duty, and has worked hard to prepare themselves for it. To date 23,556 faculty members have trained themselves for online learning. Many of them have reached out to the HEC experts in the Technology Support Committee or Content Identification Committee for information. This support is provided 24/7 to universities and their faculty members.
Much of the FAPUASA statement consists of fake news or personal attacks, which are inappropriate for those claiming to be representatives of teachers. The issues have been discussed repeatedly with FAPUASA representatives in the past, and can be discussed again. However, the final decisions by the Commission or its Chairman are made after considering all perspectives, and in accordance with HEC's mandate of enhancing access, quality, and relevance of education and research in the country. This mandate represents the combined interests of students, teachers, and researchers.
In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, HEC has circulated a number of prudential guidelines to protect the health and safety of the students and faculty members as well as the continuity of the learning process. All these guidelines were issued after extensive consultations with Vice Chancellors of public as well as private sector, provincial governments, and accreditation councils.
HEC and the universities have also initiated steps to overcome the difficulties that emerged subsequently, including the connectivity issues faced by students, and the teething problems of delivering good quality education through the new medium of online instruction. The PTA has worked with telecom operators to develop subsidized data bundles. Discussions are continuing to provide additional subsidies to students.
Regarding online classes as well as examinations, HEC has consistently taken the view that these should not be imposed unilaterally, but...