Covid-19 pandemic has certainly brought education to a standstill. In order to tackle the unprecedented situation at hand, Vice Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), Dr. Muhammad Ali has said that QAU is going to take the lead in digitizing higher education studies in Pakistan.
According to Dr. Muhammad Ali, the parents, teachers and students are facing a big challenge due to the situation. Coronavirus has taken its toll on human beings, but in the end, the human beings will overcome this disease. “But even when we defeat this pandemic, we will need technology to supplement our efforts. Now awareness about this need is increasing,” he said.
Regarding the digitizing of higher education studies he said, “Our youth is already there on social media in a big way. We just need to steer their energies towards education on the platform of their choice”.
By digitizing higher education, the quality of the studies will be enhanced. “By now, there must have been a pool of lectures from quality professors on all subjects in Pakistan as everybody is taking classes online,” he said.
Dr. Ali said that the universities and the students are suffering because of the poor decision-making, lack of expertise, lack of budget allocation and misplaced priorities of the leadership. The universities and the students are facing a threat to their future due to these practices.
He further elaborated his point, universities in developed countries such as the US upload their lectures in a database where every student can access them easily, whereas, there is no such concept in universities in Pakistan.
He said “Imagine a Pakistani student interested in mass communication research can have lectures on this subject from top 10 professors of the field in addition to taking regular classes. It will definitely increase her understanding of the subject manifold”. He cited the example of MIT, the world’s leading university, which has put all its lectures online for anybody to benefit free of cost.
The digitization of higher education will also help in eradicating poor academic policies and dishonesty in teachers as they will know that all of the lectures are recorded. “It will save resources. There are many common subjects and universities have to hire nine or 10 different professors for one single subject. Once we digitize our system, one quality professor can deliver a lecture to 10 different classes studying a common subject. It will save a lot of resources. We have held selection boards and other high-powered meetings online and we have saved a lot of resources doing so. Plus, each and every word is recorded and it is good for the sake of accountability,” he said.
According to Dr. Muhammad Ali, along with QAU, universities such as Allama Iqbal Open University and Virtual University are fully capable of applying the digitization of higher education and their experience should be utilized by every university. “Problem is we have the solution to our problems handy but the decision-makers are not interested to do the things through proper channel,” he added.