World class universities’ free courses for Pakistani students

05:16 PM | 16 Aug, 2020
World class universities’ free courses for Pakistani students

 Sidra Batool wanted to have a career in videography and photography but she had no money to get the proper training to polish her skills and compete with experienced photographers. She contacted the National College of Arts and some other private institutions to enroll in short related courses but could not make to them because of odd timing and higher charges. Sidra, being a schoolteacher, hardly found time and energy to reach the NCA at 2pm to attend the class when her school would be over at 2pm. She gave up the idea of becoming a videographer and photographer. 

This was back in 2008. 

In 2018 she learned advanced techniques of videography and photography from famous videographers of the world and also has earned a certificate. 

Sidra did so without spending even a single penny, and the completed courses at her own pace and convenience. 
“If you have a computer and an Internet connection and can read and write English, you can have access to free online courses from world’s renowned universities,” says Sidra, who is now a multimedia director with a news website, and earns a salary in six figures.  

Sidra’s niece Fatima is an O level student. While her class fellows would spend almost Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000 per month on the tuition of math, chemistry, biology, physics and even history, Fatima found plenty of tutorial material on Khan Academy, a free online course website, where lessons on school subjects are offered free of cost. She did all elusive math problems with the help of Khan Academy video lessons. 

During the lockdown stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, people all over the world had plenty of time for being at home, and they took such courses to grow their knowledge as well.

While students and adult learners may find a good number of educational and vocational videos, the basic difference between the course websites and Youtube lessons is that dedicated online courses offer a complete package – course material (reading, videos, assignments, interactive discussion forums, interaction with teachers and combined projects, etc.) whereas Youtube videos only offer a one-way lecture on a topic with a limited scale.

In 2013, I met Bilal Musharraf, the son of retired General Pervez Musharraf in Doha at one of the world’s biggest annual events on education — WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) 2013 where he delivered his presentation on ‘Education for anyone, anywhere’. At that time, he was the Dean of Translation with US-based Khan Academy. This is the time I came to know about this a not-for-profit website that aims at changing education for the better by providing free world-class education for anyone anywhere. Since then, I have been tracking online course programs and have completed more than 100 online courses on language, journalism, parenting, history, online marketing, public speaking, research, and so on. These courses were offered by US universities. 

Based on my consistent chase of the online education world, here I offer a list of recommended high-quality sites that offer free courses.


Since 2004, the site has uploaded more than 100,000 lessons on mathematics, history, healthcare, medicine, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics, cosmology, organic chemistry, macroeconomics, microeconomics, computer science, and even history and art. These videos have been watched more than 1,000 million times. More than 10 million learners use the website every month from 200 countries and more than a billion practice exercises have been solved on the platform. The website has translated and uploaded more than 1,000 videos in Urdu on YouTube. 


The website with American and European universities and organizations offer four to six weeks courses on a wide variety of topics.


The site has thousands of lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world, such as England, Australia, Wales, and many state universities around the United States. 


Udemy’s free courses offer access to customized courses where learners can work with top professors and schools. The content is of top quality which can be accessed free as well. Advanced courses are offered on payment. 
There is a long list: Academic Earth, edX, Alison (highly recommended), iTunesU Free Courses, Harvard, Open Yale Courses, UC Berkeley Class Central, MIT OpenCourseWare, Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, Codecademy, Code, University of London Podcasts, University of Oxford Podcasts, BBC Podcasts, TED-Ed, LessonPaths, Memrise, National Geographic Kids, and Fun Brain. 

Once you have read this piece, browse a couple of sites mentioned above, enroll in one program of your interest, and take your first step towards online education. Good luck!

Ahsan Raza is a Lahore-based journalist. He blogs at and tweets @AhsanRazaBudh. His story is part of the Pakistan Press Foundation fellowship.


Pakistani rupee exchange rate against US dollar, Euro, Pound and Riyal - 20 Feb 2024

Pakistani currency remained largely stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 20, 2024 (Tuesday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.05 for buying and 282.1 for selling.

On Tuesday, Euro stands at 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.4 for buying, and 355.4 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.55 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.2.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 20 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.05 282.1
Euro EUR 301 304
UK Pound Sterling GBP 352.4 355.4
U.A.E Dirham AED 76.55 77.25
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.2 75
Australian Dollar AUD 180 182
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.12 751.12
Canadian Dollar CAD 206.5 208.5
China Yuan CNY 38.84 39.24
Danish Krone DKK 40.24 40.64
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.74 36.09
Indian Rupee INR 3.48 3.59
Japanese Yen JPY 2.10 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 906.33 915.33
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.6 59.2
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.1 172.1
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.43 26.73
Omani Riyal OMR 725.75 733.75
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.76 77.46
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 207
Swedish Korona SEK 26.85 27.15
Swiss Franc CHF 315.64 318.14
Thai Bhat THB 7.93 8.08


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