Pakistan’s first online PhD viva conducted amid COVID-19 pandemic


As many universities go online during the COVID-19 pandemic, a PhD candidate made the best of this time and gave her viva.

In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Government College University (GCU) Lahore arranged its first online viva of a PhD candidate of Political Science, Sadia Rafiq, who completed her research on the topic related to Sunni minorities in Iran.

An external examiner, Prof Dr Umbreen Javaid, the Dean, Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Punjab University Lahore, conducted the PhD viva online via Skype, while another examiner, Prof Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed Chaudhry, the former Dean of Bahaudin Zakria University Multan, was present in person at the GC University campus.

Sadia Rafiq did her research under the supervision of GCU Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, Prof Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt.

The university said that the SOPs prescribed by the government regarding social distancing were strictly observed during the viva.

Later, Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi presented the PhD notification to Dr Sadia Rafiq, saying that the unusual situation due to COVID-19 posed additional challenges to all communities which is why it was the need of the hour that innovative ways should be adopted to tackle these challenges.

Dean, Prof Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt and Controller Examinations, Shahzad Ahmad were also present and praised the efforts of the examiners and the candidate.

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