Enhancing Quality and Quantity of Higher Education Through Information and Communication Technologies
Pakistan the second largest country in South Asia, is sixth most populous country in the world, with a population of 187 million of which about 100 million young men and women are below the age of 30. According to the Report of the Steering Committee on Higher Education (2001) only 2.6% (approximately 475,000) of our students aged between 17-23 were enrolled in higher education institutions. It was worst as compared to 10% of India, 20% in China, 32% in Malaysia, 43% in Thailand and 68% in Korea, even less than Rwanda. Besides inaccessibility of higher education to 95% of this age group, quality education and gender disparity were another two major concerns to Pakistani higher education. Doubtless to say that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the capacity to address these concerns simultaneously. Therefore, to tackle these problems with technology in this information technology era, Virtual University of Pakistan (VUP) was established in 2002. The model of VUP has been acknowledgment as the winner of the role model status which can be replicated by other developing countries. In the holy period of 9 years, the VUP has added feathers in the cap of Pakistani higher education by providing high quality education to thousands of male and female students through state-of-the-art technological infrastructure. Interestingly, more than 30,000 students appeared in the final examination 2011 held in more than 115 exam centers in 90 cities all over the country. Despite of this elegance, majority of the people are still unaware of this niche facility of higher education at their thresholds especially in the rural and far-flung areas of Pakistan. Therefore, media campaign may be launched so that enrollment may be increased by leaps and bounds. The VU may establish more Private Virtual Campuses (PVCs) to facilitate the remote area students. With the collaboration of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) an attractive package/incentive may be given to the culturally restricted female students for Internet surfing. // Paper ID: 316
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