President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday while emphasizing for enhanced international cooperation and free flow of knowledge, called for ensuring less copyrighted and inexpensive education considering the poverty across the world. ‘We should make the flow of knowledge less copyrighted, much more freer than ever before. If we want the world make progress, it is important that knowledge should be less expensive because it is misery that there is poverty throughout the world,’ the president said addressing a virtual Pak-UK Education Gateway Conference.
He said education as well as better healthcare were inevitable for poverty alleviation. Calling for exchange of knowledge among the countries, the president said the COVID-19 had dragged the institutions and countries to adopt new highways for imparting education. He viewed that had COVID not hit the world, Pakistan would have been too slow to reach the level of developing information technology systems geared up for distance learning amid pandemic.
He said currently, the students and teachers interacted with the new gateway, though Pakistan was already pursuing the idea of distance learning as the country had Allama Iqbal Open University and Virtual University imparting distance education. He said in the COVID-era, the knowledge has changed from mere books to a dynamic form and called for enhanced access of knowledge to students.
He said facing a different issue, Pakistan needed to ensure less expensive education and appreciated the idea of distance learning for it being cheaper and accessible to even women sitting at home. The distance learning institutes cost one-fourth of other universities making it affordable. The president also congratulated Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and Chairman of Higher Education Commission Tariq Binori for quickly transforming to hybrid learning amid COVID-19.
He said the distance learning would also empower women by opening up new possibilities for them. He lauded the HEC for coming up with a policy of distance learning by ensuring access of students with increased bandwidth as they had been facing problems in some areas. He said as the hybrid learning linked the students through a knowledge base, it was equally essential to train the teachers to handle the system.
However, in this era of hybrid learning, the difficult part was conducting the examination which needed to be worked out with the passage of time. The president said the COVID-19 would leave a footprint on education system and the quantum of learning abilities and highways created due to the pandemic would make it easier for the world to impart education in professional manner. He spoke high of the cooperation by British Council and Pakistani diaspora in UK for promotion of education by sharing their experiences and skills with the universities and institutions in Pakistan.