Experts at Virtual Education Conference organized by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) highlighted the key challenges of COVID-19 in the education sector at Chamber House here on Tuesday. Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr.Tariq Banuri in his video link address highlighted the key initiatives of HEC to address the challenges and disruption due to COVID-19. He lauded RCCI for hosting the Virtual Education Conference and also appreciated the participation of key stakeholders in the conference. He informed that to accelerate the access to the online education HEC has taken many initiatives and still more work is to be done. Nine important guidelines have been formulated and provided to the universities. About 47,000 faculty members have been trained to provide education through virtual platforms. The digital library access has been provided to universities so that students and faculty members can benefit from it. The dynamics of education now has been changed and we have reformed the undergraduate education system. We are working closely with the business community for an internship program. Secretary Information technology Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui assured full support from his ministry and lauded RCCI for holding this important conference. The ministry has taken key initiatives on a fast line to address the challenge of connectivity, especially Universal Access and Service for far long and mountainous areas. Earlier, President Mohammad Nasir Mirza said that the aim of the conference was to highlight the challenges facing the education sector due to the Corona epidemic, the future, new emerging trends and problems faced by students, teachers and find solutions. In order to meet the challenges facing the education sector in view of the Corona epidemic, a new education policy has to be brought forward, he added. Computers, laptops have become a necessity not only for university students but also for school children. There is a need to bring awareness about smart education, e-learning, he added. Group leader Sohail Altaf said that it is the hour of need to equip ourselves with modern technology and must make IT services available to everyone. The conference had two sessions on key topics including smart education, the benefits of e-learning and key challenges, student participation on virtual platforms and the digital revolution and innovation in the education system, examination and assessments, the establishment of IT software and applications related to the education sector. The sessions were moderated by Chaudhary Faisal Mushtaq, Founder & CEO Roots Millennium Education, and Yusuf Hussain, Head Venture Capital HBL. The conference was attended by key stakeholders both from academia and the IT sector. The Vice Chancellor of Karakarrum University Atta Ullah Shah, Dr. M. Ayub Alvi, Rector Fast University, Islamabad, Dr. Sohaib Akhter, Director ORIC, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Dr. Shakeel A. Khoja, Professor & Dean School of Mathematics and Computer Science IBA Karachi, Ms Uzma Yousuf, Country Director in Pakistan, Cambridge Assessment International Education, Osman Nasir, Managing Director, Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), Bilal Asghar, GM Digital & ICT Services, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd. (PTCL), Mirza Kashif Ali, President, All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, among others, highlighted key challenges and made recommendations and suggestions to make online education affordable with ease.