By Hamid Khan Wazir
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad (QAU) and the Chairman Vice Chancellors Committee Pakistan Professor Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah hsa said that Pakistani Universities would work side by side with the government in the prevention of COVID-19 through creating awareness, providing necessary support material and engaging students through alternative means of teaching and assessment.
He was talking to the delegation of Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS) and GNP which was headed by National Coordinator IUCPSS Murtaza Noor, here on Thursday. Having expertise in Biotechnology, he clearly spoke about this pandemic. He emphasized on social distancing in this critical situation as the transmission rate of this virus from person to person is much faster than any of the virus before.
Professor Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah insisted over change of lifestyles by avoiding handshakes using sanitizers, adopting healthy habits and other precautionary measures prescribed by the virologists for the time unless this issue is resolved. Coming to the targets, he said that Universities are playing their best role for coping with this problem, he pointed the work of University of Punjab and NUST regarding the preparation of diagnostic kits and appreciated their initiatives. He also told that he asked the faculty of QAU to prepare sanitizers of good quality with less prices as compared to the market and distribute them in QAU employees and then countrywide.
On a question of the lockdown of universities and further plans of Universities, he clarified that we should not have to take these vacations as holidays. The globe is on threat, Pakistan is in the emergency situation, and these vacations are only for assuring the isolation and discouraging social gatherings. Furthermore, elaborating the issue he told that we are careful about the educational loss of our students, QAU has started online assessment in various departments and soon in all of the departments. He told that QAU has Learning Management System and Campus Management System which will be used for this purpose.
In addition, he said that different applications like Google classroom, Microsoft and other related software could be utilized in this regard. He said that the data in form of video, audio and content would be shared with each and every student both online and offline by using WhatsApp, YouTube, and other means so that every student could get access to the material. He also told that we are on board with Allama Iqbal Open University for taking their assistance and they have ensured their collaboration in arranging virtual & workshop mode classes and other online learning methodologies. Referring to the point of online classes he said that if this crisis goes beyond April, 5th 2020 months then even we are planning to conduct the examinations online. He highlighted the role of young students who are in their native villages and homes, he said that students are the ambassadors in this crisis, they should have play their positive role by starting awareness at the community level for describing the precautionary measures and other related concerns people have about this virus.
Professor Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah was of the view that Pakistan is one of the most charitable nations in the world. He suggested that the government should have to open an account on immediate basis for collection of funds for coping this disaster. He told that being a country we are not poor, we have a number of generous people and philanthropists who are socially responsible and have will to share their part for the welfare of the country. He urged everyone that being a nation we have to take a special care of community working on daily wages. He said that they are suffering worst in this crisis, we have to look after them by playing our individual part. At the end he appreciated the efforts of IUCPSS for initiating the countrywide awareness campaign regarding COVID-19 and emphasized that we all have to play effective role in this critical time through behaving responsibly and intelligently.