The world has transformed into a global village. Access to, and retrieval of, information has become easy, and distance learning, especially through electronic media, has gained wide popularity the world-over. Many feel that distance education can be as effective as face to face education. While the advance countries are tackling issues like digital divide, we in Pakistan still face the problem of illiteracy. It is a known fact that the participation rate of Pakistani youth in tertiary education is one of the lowest in the world. The obvious reason for this are:
In line with the government’s policy of developing a large pool of qualified human recourse, the University decided to launch its Distance Education Program, which is in conformity with its Charter and is recognized by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. It is worth noting that SUIT is the only private sector University in Pakistan allowed by its Charter to offer education through distance/virtual means.
The University’s distance education program offers following merits:
Due to above reasons distance education program of SUIT has gained popularity and thousands of students (with in the country and abroad) have opted to benefits from it. Today, the process of learning relies heavily on
Technology which is major source of demand placed for both traditional and distance students. In some universities abroad, the distance education students are provided access to the laboratories of the academic institutions, when the latter’s regular students in an environment similar to their future habitat as an intellectual worker in the 21st Century. The Students learn to use technology to seek structure, interpret, and assimilate information. Information is presented in all forms including direct lecture, media enhanced lecture, conferencing, books, papers, videos and imulations. In short, technology enhanced distance education at Sarhad University uses all forms of media and information to act as distance education centers in order to provide access to our program. These Centers facilitate the students to attend online lectures, seminars, and workshops, use library and laboratory facilities, and seek counseling, help and guidance. All the students enrolled in distance education program through the Centers are the bonafide students of the University as they are assigned registration and enrollment numbers by the central admission office University provides fee structure, degree program structure, detailed course outlines and other relevant material to the students through the Centers. The University plans and administers examinations and declares results. The degree, to the students studying via recognized Centers, are awarded by the University after fulfillment of its degree requirements.
The factors that have contributed towards enormous success of our Distance Education program include:
Open and honest communication with the Centers and students, support to Centers and Distance Education Students, world curricula, and mechanism of periodic feedback and review/version of the syllabus, centralized arrangement and conduct of examinations, and affordability of the program by common man.
Registration of thousands of distance learning students in only five years is a testimony to the popularity and effectiveness or the University Distance Education Program.