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Shafqat Mehmood issues statement regarding online exams

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood. File photo

ISLAMABAD: After days of protests across the country by the students demanding online exams, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood on Monday issued a statement regarding the government’s point of view on the matter.

Students have staged protests in Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar demanding the authorities hold online exams as classes were also being held online. They are also urging the government to provide a discount in tuition fees.

The federal minister tweeted that the decision regarding online exams lies with the universities.

“Some university students are demanding that their exams should be online as they have been studying online,” the minister wrote on Twitter.

“This is a decision for the universities to make, but I have asked HEC to consult VCs and see if it is possible given special circumstances this year.”

He added that universities “should also assess whether they have the technical ability to conduct online exam for all students, stressing that no student should be left behind.

“No one can be left behind. It is also necessary to ensure that the online exam system is not misused to get easy grades,” he wrote. “Preparing good question papers/ assessment is important.”

The minister shared the concerns raised by former Higher Education Commission chairman about the absence of a mechanism required for holding online exams.

Last week, former HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that exams cannot be held online adding that this is the “prerogative of the concerned authority or the teacher to decide how it wants to take the exam.”

“There are multiple assessment methods including online but the demand by the students that exams be taken according to their wishes is not justified and it sends a wrong message to the world,” he said.

“It shows a lack of confidence between students and teachers.”

Responding to a question, the educationist said that this [online] new mode of education has “exposed teachers as well because many of them could not deliver according to the requirement.”

“Online teaching included lecture delivery, students’ participation in the class, and content development for maximum understanding. There’s a need for training of teachers but it would take time.”

He said that teachers “are still not ready for this and the authorities should have taken this seriously during the previous lockdown.”

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