President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday called for introducing special educational tools for differently-abled persons, particularly the visually and hearing-impaired persons, to facilitate them in continuing their higher education. The president also emphasised that the huge number of out-of-school children was a major issue that needed to be addressed with the collective efforts of educational institutions, civil society and non-governmental organizations. He made these remarks while chairing a follow-up meeting on Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Islamabad, at Aiwan-e-Sadr. The meeting was attended by the Vice-Chancellor of AIOU, Prof Dr Zia-ul-Qayyum, and senior management of the University. Addressing the meeting, the president underscored the need for skill-based courses to equip the youth with employable skills, particularly in the IT sector. He also underlined the need to introduce two-year Associate Degree Programs to fulfill the market demand for skilled professionals. He stated that AIOU needed to further increase its outreach through online and distance learning modes to increase the number of graduates in the country. The president urged the management of the university to effectively utilize the latest ICT tools in that regard. While briefing the meeting, the Vice-Chancellor of AIOU highlighted that during the last two years, the university had transformed its operations through massive technological interventions under its “Digital Transformation Policy”. It was informed that AIOU was the first university in the public sector to launch an integrated automated suite of applications that had automated all academic, administrative and financial processes of the university. He apprised the meeting that over 1.2 million students were currently enrolled in the institution whereas more than 4.43 million students had graduated in various disciplines so far. The president appreciated the initiatives undertaken by the university, particularly enhancing its outreach and digitization of the institution.