PESHAWAR - With the extension in the lockdown because of the COVID-19 issue, sev­eral universities in Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa have decided to start online classes in June.

Speaking to The Nation, Secretary Higher Education Hassan Mehmood Yousufzai said yesterday that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has issued detailed guidelines to pub­lic sector universities to prepare for online teaching.

However, considering that the idea is still not completely mature, no defi­nite orders have been issued yet, he added. However, he said they are try­ing to solve the issue of classes in or­der to save students’ time from get­ting wasted.

“Side by side, the HEC is also consid­ering the issues like internet connec­tivity in different districts, teachers’ preparedness, students’ prepared­ness, and online content, etc. Some universities have also started limited trials,” the official said.

University of Malakand Vice-Chan­cellor Prof Dr Gul Zaman said that they have already started online classes.

“In fact, the government had an­nounced advanced summer vacations, but in Malakand region, the summer vacations are for a month only. This is why, we started the online teaching almost three weeks ago to save the next semester,” Dr Gul Zaman said.

He said the university has given op­tions to teachers to alternate between using LMS, Whatsapp, Zoom software to teach students who can also down­load material from our online plat­form

“In order to monitor the online teaching, the heads of departments (HoDs) and coordinators concerned also are part of the online classes for monitoring while the VC office also calls the class representatives among students to inquire about the teaching quality and if any classes are missed,” he added.

He said that for students who face Internet connectivity issue the uni­versity administration will supply them course material in hard form.

University of Peshawar Vice-Chan­cellor Prof Dr Muhammad Asif Khan this correspondent the university had already set up a learning manage­ment system, called Skai, we has the data of all students and faculty.

“Nowadays trainings of our univer­sity’s faculty are underway and hope­fully, the online classes would start from June,” Prof Dr Asif said.

He said that because there may be load-shedding, Internet connectivity or other issues, the students would be able to download video lectures and other material once they sign in to the LMS any time.

He also said that in districts where there internet is not available, the al­ternative is to set up centres in those areas and provide the students there CDs, flash drives containing their course materials.

Director Admissions of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM), Dr Attiq Ur Rahman, said that the uni­versity faculty has already submitted online lectures in the shape of Power­Point slides and course contents.

“Our university has decided to start online classes from June 1 through the LMS [Learning Management Sys­tem] that we have developed,” he said.

He added the LMS have the features of study materials, assignments, quiz, online exam, marking students’ at­tendance, virtual classrooms, fines (if any) CGPA, online messaging system and it would also generate exam slip for students.