Research and innovation are vital for the socio-economic development of a country, Dr Attaur Rahman, the UN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation chairman, said on Monday.
He was addressing the third E-learning and Distance Education Conference at the Ali Institute of Education, Lahore. The event has been organised by the Virtual University of Pakistan. A large number of educationists from Pakistan and abroad are participating.
“Developing countries face the challenge of keeping pace with the rapidly advancing frontiers of science and technology. Information technology and knowledge have become a source of wealth. Higher education has gained vital importance,” Rahman said.
He said that there was a need for a network of teachers that could provide education on demand. “Such a model can provide quality education,” he said.
Former finance minister Syed Babar Ali was the guest of honour at the event. He said that technology could change the education landscape of Pakistan. “Through the use of technology, education can easily be provided to people living in far-flung areas of the country,” he said.
In his inaugural address, Virtual University Rector Dr Naveed A Malik welcomed the delegates. “The conference is an opportunity for intellectuals to share their ideas about distance learning. We have brought academicians and educationists from many disciplines together to enable them to share experiences about the use of information technology in education,” he said.
He said there had been a number of new developments in e-learning applications. “These strategies need to be explored and discussed by all stakeholders. It will provide opportunities for networking that may lead to extended collaboration in distance education and e-learning among individuals and institutions,” Malik said. He said that 35 research papers would be presented in the conference.
Professor Asha S Kanwar, the Commonwealth of Learning president; Dr Shironica Karunanayaka, professor of educational technology at The Open University of Sri Lanka; and Dr Robert Farrow from Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK also addressed the event.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2016.