IBA Karachi reopens for students, aims to ensure academic normalcy

September 7, 2021: The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi reopened for physical classes after a period of 18 months. The IBA management was ecstatic to welcome the students back on campus after a period of online learning.

The Executive Director, IBA Karachi, Dr. S Akbar Zaidi, was elated to see the campus buzzing with students. Sharing his thoughts on welcoming students back on campus, he mentioned, "The first day of the IBA reopening, in person after such a long time, has been one of the most fantastic experiences, not just for me personally but for the entire IBA faculty."

Talking about the innovations made on the digital front and the transition that was required to avoid any interruptions in learning, he mentioned, "We set the tone in online learning in Pakistan by making use of new technologies. Many universities in Pakistan looked up to us as an example and tried to emulate us, following the measures we took in shifting from physical to remote learning."

The IBA with its quick measures in place ensured that the academic calendar was followed without any fail, making it one of the few institutes of higher learning in Pakistan which was able to wrap up its semesters on time.

The IBA facilitated the students fully during these ever-changing times in the form of upgraded IT infrastructure so if any student faced network connectivity issues or power disruptions at home, they could take classes from campus during the Spring and Summer 2021 semesters. For the outstation students, who had genuine concerns on returning home, the IBA Hostels team assisted them by following all the SOPs issued by the government.

Speaking about the challenges in virtual learning, Dr. Zaidi said, "IBA reopening is not just about physical classes, but it is about the vibe that one can never get online." He remarked that the campus reopening was an uphill task. "Some senior faculty members were apprehensive about the reopening, but we have made the environment such that even those who had concerns are now embracing the post-vaccination opening up of the IBA".

The Registrar, IBA, Dr. Mohammad Asad Ilyas, shed light on the thought process of the IBA leadership on the campus reopening for students. "Everybody on the team was on the same page when the talk was about taking a risk for the betterment of education. We took measures where we ensured that vaccinations were in place. Apart from that we carried out upgradations in teaching modalities. The aim was to facilitate our community - one such measure being, making the transport service free for the students for the entire semester."

Dr. Ilyas stated that education should be the topmost priority. "The government can take strict measures to ensure education is not disrupted, and we will cooperate fully. Measures should be in place to ensure SOPs are followed, but educational institutes should not be shut down, as we have lost enough when it comes to education," he mentioned.

In the many measures taken by the Institute, the IBA made it mandatory for its entire student body, staff and faculty members to get vaccinated. Students could not enroll for the Fall 2021 semester without providing proof of vaccination to ensure that no one misses out on the vaccinations.

Dr. Ilyas emphasized on the fluidity of the situation. "We tend to forget that we are living amidst a pandemic. With new challenges surfacing everyday people need to be patient and appreciate the adaptations taking place".

Director, Program Offices, IBA, Dr. Abbas Ali Gillani, explained the challenges that were countered in trying to return to some sort of academic 'normalcy'. He shared details about the additional classroom structures, sharing, "We have included open air classrooms, mega-classes, and are conducting physical classes in alternate sessions. In all of these structures we are ensuring that the enrolment remains less than 50 per cent of the classroom capacity, with our topmost priority being to follow the SOPs".

The IBA has persistently taken steps in these challenging times by prioritizing the health and safety of its students, staff and faculty members.