SARGODHA - Universities around the world are under immense pressure on con­nectivity, continuity, excellence, equity and the quality of educa­tion in online learning process. Radical transformation of the ed­ucation system would be the only way out to provide, maintain and ensure the quality of education in this new landscape.

The policymakers have to think about strategically utilizing and allocating resources in a manner that allows smaller institutions to develop expertise from larger uni­versities as digital learning has be­come imperative in these testing times and even it would be in post COVID-19 scenario.

These deliberations were made by the international and nation­al education experts, who got to­gether for a webinar at the Uni­versity of Sargodha (UoS) on Wednesday, to discuss the “Digi­tal Education during Pandemic in Pakistan” from the perspective of higher education.

Educationists from across the globe including Professor of East­ern Michigan University USA, Dr Joe Bishop, Director Department of Education University Greno­ble-Alpes, France Dr Laurent Lima, Director University of Hong Kong Dr Susan Bridges, Associate pro­fessor of University of Malaya, Malaysia Dr Faizal bin A Ghani, Professor of Aga Khan Universi­ty, Pakistan Dr Anjum Halai, AIOU Professor Dr Nasir Mehmood and prominent education expert Dr Faisal Bari, Associate Professor of Economics and Education, LUMS Lahore attended the webinar mod­erated by Ms Rubina of the Depart­ment of International Relations and Politics Sargodha University.

Commenting on the connectivi­ty problem of the students, Dr Joe Bishop said “Even the students of advanced countries like United States faced internet issues, how­ever, we expanded the Wi-Fi deliv­ery and students having internet access issues joined online classes by sitting in cars at parking lots of the university.”

He also shared the strategy and suggestions adopted by the US universities including mapping the classroom spaces, and plastic glass inserting between teachers and students.

Dr Laurent Lima highlighted the problems of connectivity, meth­ods of teaching, economic crises and various family issues faced by the students. He suggested project based assessment to avoid the is­sue of copy pasting and similar as­signments with shuffling of words.

Dr Susan Bridges was of the view that innovation, authenticity and creativity would be required to enhance digital education. Hy­brid course design has enabled to attain synchronization and gener­ate interest among the colleagues in making online material (video production, graphics).

Expressing his concerns over the higher education institu­tions, Dr Bari stressed on updat­ing model of higher education as the COVID-19 has provided us an opportunity to think about new ways and create much more cus­tomize response teaching method.

He divided universities into three tiers; first would expand services while second and third tier universities would suffer due to lack of resources.

Dr Faizal bin A Ghani suggested that the spectrum classes would be the suitable option as it provides students a welcoming learning en­vironment. He also recommended updating curriculum, facilities and resources and developing online culture by implementing rules and regulations for digital education.

“The meaning and purpose of education is to enable one to fit in the society and raise collective intellect, induce decision making and problem resolving skills. The basic purpose of education should be remembered while modifying any medium of education”, said Dr Anjum Halai.

Dr Nasir Mehmood shared var­ious modes of assessment includ­ing open book examination, proj­ect work, small quiz and collective document development. He em­phasized on cohesive global ef­forts to cope with the challenge of connectivity and quality in online education.