ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC)’s higher education development in Pakistan (HEDP) project hosted the second meeting of a consortium of 11 universities at the National University of Sciences and Technology (Nust) to develop asynchronous online courses as a part of the new undergraduate core curriculum nationwide.
The consortium is formulated based on the expertise of these universities in developing and delivering quality online learning platforms.
It includes Allama Iqbal Open University, Aga Khan University, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Comsats University, Habib University, Hazara University, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore College for Women University, National University of Sciences and Technology, University of Baltistan and Virtual University of Pakistan.
According to a statement, vice chancellors and senior officials of all these universities attended the meeting. The new curriculum adds 11 core courses drawn from five broad categories of HEC undergraduate policy courses.
These universities will contribute courses on PakistanEdX by offering multilingual options in five categories of arts and humanities, social sciences, quantitative skills, natural sciences and expository writing.
PakistanEdX is a key activity launched under the umbrella of the HEDP project supported by the World Bank. It aims to offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) in line with well-known international platforms - Coursera, EdX - with the vision to expand the horizon of quality education at the national level, especially targeting the far-flung and underprivilege areas.
PakistanEdX will provide subsidised courses to the underprivileged youth.
The platform is developed by the same organisation which has been a major developer for several international learning platforms like MIT/Harvard’s edX, University of California San Diego, edX and Wikimedia. The technology built by this firm has already served over 55 million students worldwide.
Nust Rector retired Lt Gen Javed Mahmood Bukhari said: “We at Nust offer our full support for this visionary initiative. It’s right time to take advantage of this opportunity and enable our future generations with right blend of new learning. I appreciate entire HEC/HEDP team for this remarkable endeavour.”
Maryam Riaz, project coordinator HEDP, explained how important it was to take feedback of universities in making any policy around higher education.
The representatives of participating universities deliberated on what each university can offer and when each course will be available for the platform. The discussion focused on how these courses can be credited and what were the parameters for three credit hour course by HEC.
The sustainability and financial models were discussed with the aim to ensure high quality and accessibility aspects.
The meeting agreed to develop collaborative models among universities for the development of high-quality MOOCs with the involvement of experienced and specialised faculty from different universities. All universities agreed to task technical members for various subcommittees for PakistanEdX execution that can work on focused aspects.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2022