SARGODHA: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has declared University of Sargodha (UoS) as fully prepared to impart online education to the students, as with regard to ‘online education readiness’, the varsity has been ranked 4th in Punjab and 13th in Pakistan, according to a press release issued here on Saturday by UoS information department.

The HEC had conducted a survey to evaluate operational readiness of the universities for imparting online education, including of technology, evaluation, library, laboratory, course, faculty and students. The evaluation criteria gave due consideration to the requirements of quality teaching and the limitation of internet facilities available to students.

UoS was among those universities which switched to online education last March, as soon as the government imposed a countrywide lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.

It says the varsity adopted a multilayered oversight mechanism to ensure quality of online teaching and gave the students facing internet connectivity issues the option to freeze their spring semester.

The varsity also promptly developed its own Learning Management System (LMS), including the open source Course Bank for online teaching, while a ‘foolproof’ software for online assessment is getting ready ahead of the exams scheduled for next month, it says.

The press release says that in terms of overall readiness, the HEC has rated Sargodha University at ‘100 per cent’ ready. The criteria includes personnel and material management as well as an operational capacity of its LMS. For technological readiness, the university also scored 100pc. This criteria includes availability of technical platforms, packages, technological infrastructure and the proficiency of its LMS software.

The varsity has also been rated by the HEC at 100pc for its library and laboratory readiness, and also for evaluation readiness, while 99.43pc for course readiness, 90.78pc for faculty readiness and 85.71pc for students readiness.

The press release attributed the comparatively low percentage of student readiness to the fact that it had submitted the survey results to the HEC while the online spring semester was still under way. Henceforth, it says, while complying with HEC guidelines for student readiness, its Directorate of Student Affairs set up a complaint cell to address the connectivity issues faced by students from remote areas, which significantly improved students’ readiness – a factor not accounted for in the HEC ranking.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2020

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