Education

HEC directs universities to hold online exams for current semester

HEC online exams

High Education Commission (HEC) has directed the universities across the country to conduct online exams for the current ongoing semester due to COVID-19.

Yesterday, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) left it in the hands of Universities whether to conduct on-campus or online exams.

HEC tweeted, “HEC Advises Universities to Conduct Exams based on their Capacity and Need for Fair Assessment. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has taken note of the concerns raised by students of some universities that their examinations should be conducted online.”

On Wednesday, in a series of Twitter posts, HEC said that all universities have the power to take decision regarding conducting exams. Students’ protest compelled authorities to consider the demand of online exams, the HEC said that it has taken notice of students’ concerns regarding in-person examination.

“The apprehensions of students were reviewed carefully in consultation with the vice-chancellors of all the provinces and regions, keeping in view the difficulties brought about by the pandemic and opening of universities from February 01, 2021,” HEC said.

Read more: Shafqat Mehmood says up to universities to decide on online or in-person exams

In another post, it said, “HEC Guidance on Examinations is available at https://hec.gov.pk/english/HECAnnouncements/Documents/nCoVirus/Assessments-Examinations.pdf…. In this policy, HEC already allowed universities to use their discretion to conduct exams, either on-campus or online as long as the chosen mode provides a fair assessment of students’ performance.”

“Universities should take stock of their “exam readiness”, i.e., technological readiness, managerial capacity, and the announced policy, and choose the best possible mode of assessment.”

HEC then suggested the way of how to take online exams, said, they could be taken if the varsities administered ‘open Book Exams’ or established an invigilation system in a supervised environment.

“Online exams either can be used if the universities administer ‘Open Book Exams’ or establish an invigilation system in a supervised environment. In this mode, universities will also have to use Turnitin to check similarity index with Web and the answers of other students.”

“Further, viva/oral exam may be integrated in the assessment where necessary.”

“On-campus exams can be used only under strict compliance with all Covid-19 health and safety protocols. Universities may also have to organize make-up classes for two weeks in case students consider the course coverage to be deficient.”

“Assessment of all courses requiring psychomotor skills, such as medicine, engineering, subjects involving lab/studio work must be held on campus.”

HEC further said that since March 2020 it had been monitoring the pandemic situation and coordinated with universities to minimize academic disruption and continue online education with quality safeguards.

It concluded by saying, “The HEC Guidance on Online Readiness (#5) and Assessments and Examinations (#6) are available on HEC website and provide the requirements and minimum standards to be observed by universities.”

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