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Distance learning system going to introduce in public sector universities: HEC
Hyderabad, The system of distance learning will be introduced in public sector universities and a special directorate will be set up in six universities as a pilot project.

This was decided at a video-conference arranged by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) from Islamabad. Participants included vice-chancellors Prof Dr Nazir A. Mughal of the University of Sindh, Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui of the University of Karachi and Prof Dr Azmat Hayat Khan of the University of Peshawar, and HEC and university officials.

Executive Director of the HEC Dr S. Sohail H. Naqi explained the objectives of the distance education system. He said that at present the universities were running different systems of education: a regular degree program and in affiliated colleges. There is one program for regular students while another for students who appear in examinations as external candidates only by filling examination forms at affiliated degree colleges.

The students, who appeared in examinations as external candidates, he said, were not found to be productive.

He said that at present total strength of university students were one third of those getting higher education. A large number of students appeared in exams from affiliated colleges or received education under the distance learning program run by the Allama Iqbal Open University and Virtual University.

He said that private students did not meet the required criteria and needs of the job market. The distance education system was aimed at improving the quality
of education of external candidates.

The system will be launched with the assistance of information technology.

He said that a large number of people wanted to receive higher education and were willing to pay for that and this could be a source of revenue for the universities.

Dr Naqvi said that the Virtual University project was launched six years ago with a funding of Rs1 billion and its students were doing well in the job market.

He said that the main objective of the distance learning system was to produce quality students. It is a long-term program and the HEC was providing a forum to the universities.

He said the universities should set up the directorate with proper staff, adding that Punjab University, Gomal University, University of Peshawar, University of Sindh and University of Karachi were working on it.

Pirzada Qasim called it an excellent program and said that the University of Karachi would be implementing it as a joint venture with the University of Sindh.

He said both the universities would introduce MA economics.

Prof Dr Parveen Munshi, dean of the faculty of education, University of Sindh, said that a program had been chalked out and the needed material was being developed. She said that registration under the distance education program begin start in March.

By 2012, the programme will replace external programs for MA in all subjects and by 2013 all external programs.

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