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May 26, 2016

HEC, VCs agree on quality education


May 26, 2016


A consensus was developed among universities and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on the concluding day of VCs committee meeting here on Wednesday to make more concerted efforts to achieve quality.

They agreed to assure quality not just in imparting education but also in faculty appointment, students admissions, opening of new institutions and sub-campuses, curriculum development, offering new degree courses, granting affiliations, teaching and research or any other matter related to higher education.

HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed concluding the session appreciated all the Vice-Chancellors (VCs) for their active participation and discussing in detail various challenges being faced by higher education sector and deliberating possible solutions. He stressed the fact that implementation of quality criteria and other higher education policies in letter and spirit was inevitable for development of university education that is compatible with international standards. 

Ms Shahnaz Wazir Ali, former adviser to prime minister and currently President of SZABIST said for all matters related to higher education, leadership had to come from HEC and there should not be different standards for different universities. She urged the university heads and HEC to adopt a cohesive approach for policy-making and its implementation.

A detailed session was held on Tenure Track System (TTS) for faculty appointment wherein Dr G. Raza Bhatti, Member (Operations and Planning) HEC described in detail the purpose of introducing the system and the discrepancies arising due to deviation from set criteria for appointment under TTS.

Issues related to TTS which were discussed on the occasion included non-approval of statutes from respective governing bodies, non-submission of statutes and relevant record to HEC, appointments without advertisement, TRP committee without two foreign experts, lack of Departmental Tenure Review Committees, non-observance of annual, mid-term and final reviews (hard review), assumption of administrative posts by TTS faculty, not awarding increments at the time of initial appointments, and deviation from contract period.

The gathering agreed that these shortcomings will be addressed on priority and wherever confusion arises, matter will be referred to HEC.

Tahir Abbas Zaidi, Director General, Accreditation and Attestation, HEC gave a comprehensive briefing on accreditation procedure of opening of new universities, sub-campuses as well as criteria for affiliating colleges.

He showed concern over violation of HEC criteria for opening DAI/ sub-campuses, grant of affiliations exceeding the jurisdiction limits defined in respective acts/charters, offering programmes in affiliated colleges which are not available on the Principal Seat, vetting of charters as per cabinet criteria, increased enrolment of students without required facilities, acute shortage of faculty, foreign collaboration with non-chartered institutions.

He also emphasised the importance of accreditation of degree programmes from relevant professional councils.

The vice-chancellors were also briefed about HEC safe campus solution, for universities, which was aimed to address the challenges being faced by universities. The project included blanket Wi-Fi coverage for 30 universities each year along with security cameras for surveillance of campuses. 

Earlier, addressing the VCs at Governor House, Chancellor/Governor Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana said the incumbent government had prioritised the promotion of higher education and had allocated maximum resources for this purpose.

He said without education the dream of development and progress could not be materialised. He said the VCs should follow merit.  HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed also spoke on the occasion. 

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