LAHORE: President Dr Arif Alvi has underscored the need to introduce e-textbooks in the country to impart the latest knowledge to the youth.
Addressing the concluding ceremony of the 33rd three-day annual conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities at a hotel on Wednesday, he said the world had changed due to revolution in the information technology and modern communication tools should be fully utilised to impart knowledge.
He said people could access their favourite books through the internet and distance learning was saving time and expenditure.
Mr Alvi said poverty, illiteracy and unemployment could be eliminated through economical goal-oriented education and easy access to knowledge for all. He said access to knowledge ought to be easier for everyone and copyright should not be implemented on universities' academic material.
He said the internet was an affordable option to further expand knowledge horizons. He advised the students to benefit from digital technology devices such as tablets and laptops for getting access to diverse reference material.
"The government is contemplating tablets manufacturing in the country and it would be available at $26," he said.
The president said 'resistance' to modernisation, new technology, as well as the latest educational system should be discouraged. "Our society and bureaucratic systems resist modernisation and this attitude should change now," he said.
He said the concept of a classroom and textbooks had changed altogether as computers, laptops and tablets are now part and parcel of modern teaching methodology. He said open distance learning (ODL) was also a modern technique in which students are not bound to a specific place or time. Monopoly of the teachers on education ended after introduction of printing press and latest technology, he said.
He said distance learning was getting popular in the world and lauded the role of the VU and the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) for imparting knowledge through the ODL.
Later, the president gave away awards to prominent students of the open universities for their performance and presented souvenirs to organisers of the conference.
As many as 450 representatives of open universities from 12 countries attended the conference and presented their research papers on the theme of education beyond the boundaries.
University of the Philippines Open University Chancellor Prof Melinda DP Bandalaria, Commonwealth of Learning, Canada President & CEO Prof Asha S. Kanwar, Asia e-University, Malaysia President & CEO Prof Dato' Dr Ansary Ahmed, Indonesia Open University former Rector Prof Dr Tian Belawati, Athabasca University, Canada Prof Rory Mcgreal, School of Education & Cognitive Science, Asia e University, Malaysia Dean Prof John Arul Phillips, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad VC Prof Dr Zia Ul-Qayyum, University of Education VC Prof Dr Rauf-i-Azam, The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching University of Cape Town, South Africa Online Education Project Manager Sukaina Walji and Prof Dr Masroor Elahi Babar (Sitara-i-Imtiaz), Dean Faculty of Science and Technology Virtual University of Pakistan, attended the conference.