ISLAMABAD: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has launched a campaign to promote vocational and technical learning, enabling the people to earn their livelihood and contribute to the country’s socio-economic development. These courses will specially benefit females and those living in the countryside. At a meeting of the heads of services and academic departments held here on Friday, it was decided that through this campaign more and more people would be brought into the educational net. The university will hold weekly open-houses at its 44 regional offices and at the main campus to introduce these courses. According to the official press release the Vice Chancellor, Dr.Shahid Siddiqui, who presided over the meeting advised the regional directors to facilitate the prospective students in the admission process, which will last till September 30. The open houses will also work during weekend. The technical courses and vocational education include production and sale of home-made goods, electrical wiring, auto servicing, care and maintenance of domestic electric equipment, radio-and mobile servicing, auto mechanics and care of domestic electric utensils, plumber and wielding jobs. There are nine short-term agro-based courses to promote skill and knowledge in the agriculture sector. These relate to plant protection, oil seed crops production, farm machinery, dairy farming, poultry farming, ‘jadeed zirat’ improved methods of fruit production, home and farm operational management and farm income generating skills. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui said the curriculum about these courses was being updated to equip their students with the latest techniques and methods in the field of agriculture. “We are laying greater focus on the socio-economic needs of the society, he added. An Associate degree in Commerce has also been introduced in eight different disciplines. These specialisations include community education, hotel services and management sciences. The university has set-up prospectus sale points at the tehsil level across the country in order to facilitate the new applicants at their doorsteps and placed the addresses of all these offices at its website that includes details about the admission criteria and procedure.