Universities are supposed to be the centres of quality conventional and virtual education with highly qualified faculty, said Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood.
He stated this while addressing a gathering at the launching ceremony of Phase-II of the Digital Learning and Skills Enrichment Initiative (DLSEI) here Tuesday.
Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director, HEC, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO Coursera, Vice Chancellors, Senior faculty members and students joined the event.
DLSEI is an initiative of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan in partnership with Coursera. After the successful completion of the DLSEI Phase-I project, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has signed a contract with Coursera and officially launched the Program at a largely discounted pricing model. HEC through its initiative “Digital Learning and Skills Enrichment Initiative” (DLSEI) intends to enhance online learning and skills development among passionate students with 1000+ Courses and 28 Learning tracks.
Addressing the ceremony, the minister said that Pakistan’s education system is facing a plethora of challenges, particularly lack of quality and relevance, amidst rising demand for universities. He underlined the importance of interventions like Coursera for students and faculty. “There is a massive need for skill development in the country, and the courses offered through Coursera is a remarkable intervention especially at a time when Covid-19 has greatly enhanced the importance of online learning.” He also appreciated the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) for offering training to university leadership, faculty, and administrative staff to enhance their capacity.
Mahmood said that many gaps were identified in the education system during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the digital divide in the country, faculty’s inability to teach online, and students facing difficulty understanding online classes. He hoped that the online courses under DLSEI will make a huge difference by honing in the talent of Pakistani students and improving their employability, enabling them to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.
In her remarks, Executive Director HEC Dr. Shaista Sohail said that DLSEI was launched in 2018 under an agreement between HEC and Coursera to enhance online learning and skills development among passionate students.