Students irked at AIOU’s refusal to accept handwritten assignments

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University charges full fee but asks candidates to download books in PDF


Zubair Qureshi

A large number of students of the Allama Iqbal Open University who have taken admission to various disciplines have complained against what they called “the ambiguous policy” of the university putting the candidates in great stress and confusion.

The university, they said on one hand charged the full fee (including books’ price) for various programmes offered in the Spring Semester 2021 but on the other instead of dispatching them books and relevant material, has asked them to download them from eh university’s website.

Similarly, the candidates have been asked to “type” their assignments in English or Urdu and handwritten assignments would not be acceptable.

While talking to Pakistan Observer, the students of various programmes including B Ed, M Ed, MA, M Sc, BS and Associate Degree said for hundreds and thousands of male and female candidates, majority of them doing jobs or are employees in private sector, it was not possible to download books in PDF and go through them.

Similarly, they said since every candidate is not competent in typing it will be very difficult for him/her to comply with the AIOU instructions.

For those living in Islamabad or Lahore and Karachi it would not be a big problem but for those candidates living in far-flung areas of Balochistan or Southern Punjab, it will simply be an uphill task first to download the entire books and then prepare their assignments in typing form.

It is understandable that the AIOU took these measures in view of the pandemic spreading across the country but dispatching books or allowing the citizens to write down their assignments would not contribute to the spread of Covid-19 as there will be very little chances of physical contact, they said.

Moreover, Pakistan is seeing an unprecedented decline in the number of Covid-19 cases, said one of them, adding that all departments, offices, hotels and shops have been asked by the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) to resume their normal work.

In this changing environment, it is beyond understanding to ask the students of Zhob or Layyah to type their assignments instead of writing.

Majority of those areas don’t have the Internet facility to download books in PDF.
A senior official of the Allama Iqbal Open University wishing not to be named admitted the university had received several applications with requests that university administration should do away with the online system of assignments and should return to the old method of hand-written assignments, dispatching the books at candidates’ address and physical examination.

The AIOU is reviewing all these suggestions and would make a decision in this regard very soon, he said.

Earlier, on June 21, the AIOU in a handout mentioned that the students were “strictly” required to upload typed/ composed assignments on Aaghi LMS. Handwritten assignments or their scanned copies/ images are not acceptable at all.

While talking to Pakistan Observer, a candidate said, students opted for the AIOU only because its process was easy and smooth but by imposing such conditions the university has made it almost impossible for the candidates of the far flung areas where there is no Internet or other facility to fulfill the university’s conditions.

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