ISLAMABAD: Students of Baluchistan and Federally Administrated Tribal Area (FATA) will get free education from the next semester (spring 2018) through distance learning system of the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU).
This is first-time in the history of AIOU that free education at the secondary-level was being made available for marginalized or less-developed areas of the country.
The announcement was made by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui while addressing the National Conference on English language and Literature that concluded here after adopting a number of proposals to expand the knowledge-corridor of English learning.
The two-day event was organized by the University’s Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission. The AIOU being Mega University in the public sector fulfills its national responsibility, catering the educational needs of less-far-flung regions, setting aside its financial gains.
Proving free education to Baluchistan and FATA’s students is meant to supplement the government’s efforts to upgrade educational facilities in the country and to bring maximum number of the people in the educational net.
The University is already providing free education to neglected sections of the society that include disabled persons, prisoners, drop-out girls and transgender group. Now they are going to take care of economically less-privileged areas of the country, by making the Matric education free for the students of Baluchistan and FATA, in the first –phase, the VC said.
They had already waived off tuition fee for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the tribal areas, in wake of counter-terrorism operation, undertaken by the Pakistan army.
The University is also providing scholarships to the deserving students to ensure that nobody should be left without education because of financial constraints.
To ease the access to education for all segments of society, Accessibility Centers were especially set up at their 44 regional offices for visually impaired students, he added.
Dr. Shahid Siddiqui apprised the participants of the academic achievements during the last three years, since he took over the charge as Vice Chancellor.
Promoting research cultural in the country has been their main focus. During a short-span of time, they published fourteen research journals and held twenty-four national and international conferences to disseminate the research finding to its end users.
In its educational pursuit, the AIOU designed and offered 26 brand new academic programs that covered various disciplines relating to the society’s basic needs. In order to expand the academic network, three new departments were created relating to the subjects of politics and international relations, psychology and translation of study material.
In the recent years, qualitative improvement was brought about in the entire academic and administrative system. Admission and examination process as well as books’ delivery mechanism were improved through smart use of new technology.
As per their set targets, eighty percent work of revising Text books has been completed. Students’ support system was brought on strong-footing. They have also fulfilled their target of professional development. Employees were trained in order to provide best possible services to their 1.3 million students across the country.