Directorate of Quality Enhancement (DQE) Virtual University of Pakistan in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada organized a 2-days workshop on Quality Assurance in E-Learning on June 12 &13, 2020. The purpose of this workshop was to plug the gaps between policymakers (HEC) and implementers (Universities). The workshop provided the forum to all the participants from Quality Enhancement Cells of different DAIs, academicians, and administration for the exchange of best practices in the current situation that emerged due to COVID-19 pandemic. The VUP initiated this workshop to familiarize all the participants about teaching-learning processes in the online mode because as a pioneer in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) based education in Pakistan, the University has a unique experience in this regard. In the spectrum of higher education, it is of greater concern whether HEIs are paying attention to improve the quality of teaching-learning processes. The ultimate aim of HEIs is to produce graduates with optimum employability which is possible if and only if all stakeholders understand and play their role in the effort to improve the quality of education and teaching-learning processes. To address this challenge, Virtual University of Pakistan arranged all stakeholders on a single platform to:
• Understand the gaps, challenges, and issues related to QA mechanism
• Share good practices on QA to design better internal QA mechanism and the role of key stakeholders
Mr. Naeem Tariq, Rector Virtual University of Pakistan, opened the session by mentioning the importance of QA in education while other keynote speakers discussed the topic in detail. Keynote speakers included:
• Dr. Syed Abdul Majid, Advisor Quality Assurance, Virtual University of Pakistan
• Dr. Nadia Tahir, Managing Director Quality Assurance Agency, HEC
• Dr. Zahid Majeed, Director, Academic Planning and Course Production, Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad, Pakistan
• Ms. Irfana Aslam Ghauri, Manager QA, Virtual University of Pakistan
• Mr. Muhammad Azeem, Manager QA, Virtual University of Pakistan.
A representative of the Higher Education Commission explained the role of HEC in quality education and how HEC can facilitate distance learning Institutes in education. They mentioned that Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (HEC) has a comprehensive, applicable and most effective system of Quality Assurance, devised for higher education in Degree Awarding Institutions (DAIs) regulated through Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) monitored and administered through Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) in Universities/DAIs. Major stakeholders of distance education, Virtual University of Pakistan and Allama Iqbal Open University insisted on self-monitoring for quality education. Both universities are eager to help other higher education institutions regarding online education. The workshop concluded with the recommendation of the statement that HEC may devise an applicable, effective, target-oriented, and comprehensive system for Quality Assurance for E-Learning/Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL) programs in Universities/DAIs.