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Dhaka University develops new online exam system amid COVID-19 closures

25th July 2021
"To overcome this crisis in this unprecedented time, the country's top university Dhaka University has developed a new online exam system."

Bangladesh has been closing educational institutions after detecting the first COVID-19 case in March last year, which extended the school day for students thus deferring their participation in the labour market, especially for the university students.

To overcome this crisis in this unprecedented time, the country's top university Dhaka University has developed a new online exam system. With its help, students don't have to come physically to the university, but can still complete the semesters.

Students, faculty, and staff of the Department of Development Studies at Dhaka University, headed by Chairman Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, professor of economics, have been resolved to overcome the challenges posed by the extraordinary circumstances.

"We collectively designed a roadmap to recovery," said the professor as his department recently conducted the first online exam for students since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The department transformed a conference room into a technically equipped control room for managing, conducting, and invigilating exams.

The members of the Exam Committees, Invigilation, and Technical Facilitation Committee were on standby to help students solve any technical issues arising in the process, said the professor.

During the exam, the students can speak out via zoom, he said, adding that once the internet was disrupted, they could immediately call dedicated helplines.
"After the exam today (July 13), we asked for feedback to improve our system. It is our shared spirit and determination that ignites the pace of our efforts in facilitating the academic growth of our students," said the chairman.

"This is a new experience for all of us, students, faculty, and staff members. We are learning by doing, taking small, but firm, steps in pursuit of acclimatizing to the new normal."

He said the combined efforts have led to an adoption of a new academic calendar for all programs, enabling students of the department to successfully complete their academic life, after a backdrop of about 15 to 16 months.

"What is now in operation is a result of the commitment that we must recover from the missed academic days within this year. This is also about collaboration between students, between students and faculty members, between students and staff members. A 360-degree collaborative effort for collective actions."

The professor said they completed training sessions on the online semester final exam with the students divided into different batches.

"The respective examinations committees and batch coordinators have also conducted mock tests. We sent handy, easy-to-grasp written and visual manuals, as well as frequently asked questions responses," he said.

Rajibul Hasan, a student of MDS (Master of Development Studies), said taking an online exam was a different experience.

"The arrangement was good, well-managed, and there was only technical disruption on my side (net connection). Overall, it was all good."

Another student Hussain Ahmed said it was a nice experience with the introduction of a new exam system. "I appreciate the initiatives and am grateful to all."

M Abu Yusuf, professor of Development Studies, said for the past 15 to 16 months, they have conducted online classes without having the exams.

"We prepared the road to recovery because there is no alternative now. We have to prepare ourselves with the offline and online and all the batch coordinators in our department prepared road to recovery. And whatever the 15 or 16 months backlogs we are having, we need to overcome this," he said.

On Saturday, three batches of students, around 120 participants, were sitting for the exam, said the professor.

Salina Sddiqua, assistant professor and also a student advisor, said "For the future of our students, we thought about it and the whole department worked together, with the resolve that, we have to do it. And finally, we did it."

Echoing a similar view, Fahmida Sultana, the department's associate professor, and a program coordinator said at the very beginning, students were very much tensed and worried.

But after taking the mock tests and attending workshops, they were very happy and they were confident to sit for online examinations.

"Today is the very first (exam) day, and another three exams to go. And we will finish by 19th of this month for this batch, hopefully," she said Tuesday, the first day of the online exam, while her colleagues were busy looking after related issues.

Abul Bashar Mohammed Farooq, assistant professor at the department and a member of the technical facilitation committee, said, "This is the first time we are actually conducting online semester final exam in our department and probably in our Faculty of Social Sciences. We don't know how long this unpredictable situation will continue. So this will help the students to continue their academic activities throughout this pandemic scenario, and they will not lose any of their academic life because of this pandemic."

Professor Titumir has expressed his keenness to share their knowledge, technological know-how with higher education institutions in the world, especially those from the least developed countries as a part of South-South cooperation.

Source: Xinhua

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TDO Nepal Launch Covid-19 self-screening App & Website | How to use

24th July 2021
"TDO Nepal, an online Health destination for Nepal has launched a dedicated web portal accessible on desktop, tablet & mobile www.NepalFightsCorona.com."

Lockdown due to CoronaVirus has affected the lives of people in Nepal since last 10 days. Industry, mill factories, offices are closed. Even hospitals and OPDs of Doctors are closed in most part of the country. What is operational in the health sector is to support the regular provision of medical emergency services and definitely Covid19 (CoronaVirus) cases. Hence, access to doctors regular check-up or queries is not available. Moreover, the internet is flooding with information that is building up doubts in the minds of readers. A simple cough, cold or fever is provoking anxiety and needs attention.

To support the cause of providing medically accurate information and provide telemedicine consultation to the general public of Nepal, TDO Nepal, an online Health destination for Nepal has launched a dedicated web portal accessible on desktop, tablet & mobile www.NepalFightsCorona.com. The service provides free consultation and guidance to its users on queries on Cold, Cough, Fever and anything around viral symptoms including Covid19. Not only this the service has enabled a Chatbot based symptom checker for the user to check their probability of CoronaVirus. User can also get essential information like Helpline numbers, Contact number and address of test centres for Covid19 and get to know all basic FAQs (Frequently asked questions) on the topic.

How to use the service?

•    Visit www.NepalFightsCorona.com
•    Choose Symptom Checker & answer questions to check if you should visit the hospital for COVID 19 test or not - Chatbot based Q&A tool made as per guidelines published by  WHO & Health Ministry of Nepal
•    For FREE Consultation - Click on Chat widget & get an appointment for a telephonic consultation from TDO Nepal doctors
•    Other services include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on COVID 19, List of Test Centres & Helpline numbers

TDO Nepal has handled more than 3,000 patients in last week only topics of cold, flu and Covid19 etc. With the promotional support of its partners like NCell, SRL Diagnostics Nepal, Living with ICT and Telenet. The traffic on Covid19 (CoronaVirus) portal (www.nepalfightscorona.com) is increasing every day and serving to masses.

Team TDO Nepal keeps Doctors and the medical team contribute to the noble cause to the general public from 6 AM in the morning to 12 PM at night and providing online / on-call support to our users every day. You can also follow Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tdonepal). 

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POST COVID: DIGITAL PAYMENT BOOM IN NEPAL

24th July 2021
"Digital payment platforms benefit from an increase in users."

Digital payment is the payment made through online and digital mediums when products are bought through various online Platform. Both the payer and payee must be the user of the digital payment platforms in order to send and receive money. In the context of Nepal, one can see that the use of the digital payment system is increasing day-by-day, especially during the post-COVID scenario.

Digital payment has proven itself to be the best alternative for the traditional method of payment i.e. via cash and cheque. It, also, has made it easier for the individuals and companies to clear their transactions effortlessly, sitting in one corner of the room/ office with few clicks.  

Currently, in this post-COVID scenario, the number of digital payment transactions is surging along with new online portals and platforms. Various banks and financial institutions (BFIs) have developed their own applications and websites promoting digital payment. Besides the banking sites, the widely used digital payment platforms are E-wallets such as E-Sewa, Khalti, IMEpay, Enetpay, etc. In present, as the other businesses are facing downfall, the business of the digital payment platform is escalating. E-Sewa is the oldest and most popular E-wallet comprising of 3 million users launched in 2009 AD. And, Khalti is emerging E-wallet launched in 2017 AD.
The introduction of different applications such as connectIPS, fonepay, etc. have eased the digital payment system and the digital payment process.

Due to the risk of contagion and spread of COVID, currently, several individuals prefer online transactions be it the purchase of goods or payment of goods and services or receipt of income and salaries. This has led to dramatically increase in the usage of e-wallets such as E-sewa, Khalti, etc. , mobile banking, e-banking, etc. for payment of internet bills, utility bills, balance top-up, online shopping, etc. 

Likewise, many companies are also carrying their business out of harm’s way. Different business transactions such as payment to suppliers, salary to employees, etc. are handled through online bank transfers

The major advantage of rising digital payment transactions is- the government revenue is increasing as tax is imposed on every transaction that is made through digital mediums. Also, it has fast transaction speed and the threat of theft is reduced as our money is digitalized. 

As the digital platforms are attracting lots and lots of customers today, different sectors, from vegetable, fruits, and other perishable product sectors to automobiles and gadgets, people are entering the digital platform with digital showroom and digital sales.

 

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