Islamabad : In connection with the upcoming general elections 2018, Working Group on Higher Education Reforms (WGHER) and Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences (IUCPSS), a registered autonomous alliance of more than 35 Pakistani universities in collaboration with Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) and other ten organisations, have presented 18 points agenda aimed at reforming higher education sector in Pakistan for consideration of political parties.
The reform agenda was prepared with consultation with senior academicians, vice chancellors, elected representatives of faculty, analysts, columnists as well as representatives of civil society organisations while the overseas academicians also contributed in preparing the agenda points.
The 18 points agenda emphasises over merit based transparent appointments of vice chancellors through independent academic search committees comprising of eminent academicians, discouraging ad-hocism and extension culture in higher education sector, effective Implementation of 18th Constitutional Amendment and decision of Council of Common Interests (CCI) regarding higher education sector, allocation of 4 per cent of GDP for overall education sector and 25 per cent of total allocated budget of education for higher education sector, promoting quality of teaching and research in higher education sector, ensuring autonomy of universities and academic freedom at university campuses, formulation of Syndicates/Senates/BOGs on modern principles of governance of universities keeping a balance between and internal and external members, restoration of student union at higher education institutions and ensuring effective representation of elected representatives of faculty at statutory bodies i.e. University syndicate, senate, academic council etc., promoting peace, tolerance, culture of dialogue and co-existence at university campuses through strengthening student societies and paying special attention towards Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, inclusion of stakeholders in policy formulation in higher education sector, independent assessment/evaluation of various higher education policies/programmes, development of Roadmaps for Strengthening Higher Education both at national and provincial levels, initiating Special Programme for improving ranking of Pakistani universities in international and regional university rankings, separation of functions of quality assurance, funding, regulatory framework and ranking both at national and provincial levels, ensuring maximum investment over university faculty through provision of scholarships and training opportunities, extending maximum age of retirement of university faculty from 60 to 65 years and 75% tax rebate for university faculty/researchers as per joint resolution of Senate of Pakistan, strengthening federal and provincial higher education bodies as supportive and facilitator entities through ensuring autonomy and increased budget allocations, devising policy for employment/ placement of un-employed PhD holders, encouraging skill and technology based learning through establishing community colleges and technology universities especially through foreign collaborations, balanced development approach across academic disciplines, promoting access to higher education with optimum utilisation of public resources and expanding/supporting private sector for establishing new institutions along with strengthening the existing ones without compromising over quality and serious follow up on effective utilisation of public funds through effective monitoring and evaluation at both national and provincial levels to ensure that higher education goals are being pursued vigorously.
Sharing follow up strategy, national coordinator Inter university consortium, Murtaza Noor said that a delegation of partner organizations would meet senior leadership of political parties for inclusion of this reform agenda in their election manifestos. While FAPUASA President Dr. Kaleemullah said that 2018 carries very significance due to general elections and key appointments in higher education sector. He hoped that the implementation of 18 points agenda would be greatly helpful in improving state of higher education in Pakistan.