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HEC announces coronavirus guidelines for educational institutes

The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. — HEC/Files

Following the government’s announcement to shut down educational institutes,   the Higher Education Commission  on Thursday issued additional guidelines to follow during the closure.

The guidelines come after all academic institutions — universities, colleges, schools, tuition centers, or similar entities — were ordered to be closed w.e.f. 26 November till 24 December.

The government underscored that educational institutes should continue to function and deliver education through online means.

“Academic institutions are scheduled to open on January 11, 2021. However, a review meeting will be held in this regard during the first week of January 2021 to assess the situation, and authorise the opening of academic institutions,” the HEC added.

The HEC said that the university’s vice-chancellors could allow the following students to visit the campus:

– Low-income students facing connectivity issues

– Foreign students

– PhD, MPhil, or final year students who need to use the laboratories to complete their thesis work

– Third or higher year medical students who need to obtain clinical training

– Teachers can visit universities for recording or delivering lectures

“The above flexibility is to be exercised most judiciously, and only if the campus presence of the said individuals is absolutely necessary,” the HEC reminded.

The HEC said that “in no case” shall the total number of the students permitted to enter the campus should exceed 30% of the total enrollment.

“Universities will clearly announce their policy on which category is allowed on campus and at what time and with what scrutiny mechanisms or safeguards,” it said.

“HEC has released an amount of Rs10 million each to public sector universities to help them establish any supportive arrangements needed to improve the quality of the online education process,” the statement said.

The HEC suggested that one option is to recruit senior, tech-savvy students to assist faculty members in technology-related problems involved in online education.

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